Tens of thousands of spectators will descend on Portadown on Tuesday for the Co Armagh Twelfth Demonstration – the biggest 12th of July Demonstration to be held anywhere in the world!
It has been afforded flagship status and, as such, will offer a varied programme of events surrounding the Twelfth, as well as the colour and pageantry associated with the largest day in the parading calendar.
It is one of 18 demonstrations being held across Northern Ireland and is being hosted by Portadown District LOL No 1.
Largely recognised as the biggest gathering of Orangemen on the day, it will see 11 districts parade through the ‘Hub of the North’.
These are Portadown, Loughgall, Richhill, Killylea, Markethill, Tandragee, Keady, Lurgan, Bessbrook, Newtownhamilton and Armagh.
A total of 154 lodges across the county – consisting of up to 5,000 Orangemen and women – will walk the parade route.
The Portadown lodges are due to leave Carleton Street Orange Hall shortly after 9am, firstly making their way to the town’s War Memorial.
It is there that wreaths will be laid to commemorate those killed in the two Worlld Wars and other fields of conflict, including the Troubles.
After the brief ceremony, Portadown district will parade to Edenderry, ahead of the arrival of the visiting brethren.
Edgarstown Accordion Band will head the main procession through the town, accompanying County Armagh officers and district officers, together with Portadown Ex-Servicemen’s LOL No 608.
They will set off at 10.15am, making their way through the centre of the town through Bridge Street and High Street, proceeding on to Market Street and Church Street, before reaching the Demonstration Field on the Armagh Road.
There will be a special touch at this year’s Demonstration Field, marking the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.
As bands, brethren and visitors enter the field they will pass through a metal gate bearing the Orange Order symbols, including a Bible and crown.
It is also emblazoned with poppies on either side and at the bottom, and the words ‘Somme Memorial Field’ crafted at its top.
Portadown District has also commissioned a special coin to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme and it will be available for sale on the day at the Demonstration Field.
There will be a wide variety of stalls and attractions in the field, with something for all to enjoy; the chance to enjoy something to eat and rest tired feet will be welcome.
All should be assembled in the field by 12.45pm – an hour before the platform proceedings, to be led by County Armagh Grand Master Denis Watson, are due to get underway.
An Act of Remembrance will be included and the address given by Portadown District Chaplain Cecil Allen, before the proposing and seconding of the four resolutions.
The return leg of the parade is due to get underway at 3pm and will be led by Killylea District LOL No 7. It will be reviewed by Grand Lodge and County officers as it leaves the field.
The procession will make its way back through the town centre before brethren and bands board buses and make their journey home.
Picture (main): Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson (centre), presents senior Portadown Orangemen with a special flag to mark the tourist flagship status for this year’s Co Armagh Twelfth of July parade. Pictured (L-R) are David Jones; Darryl Hewitt, District Master; Alan Burns and Cecil Allen.
Picture by Graham Curry Photograpghy.
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