With July 12 and 13 falling on Sunday and Monday this year’s ‘Scarva Day’ – when 100,000 descend on the quaint County Down village - will take place on Tuesday, July 14, with the ‘Twelfth’ on Monday.
All Sir Knights of the local Royal Black Institution (RBI) are reminded to be in Carleton Street for the 8.45am roll call and then the ‘quick march’ will be given for nine o’clock.
As ever, the best way to travel – to avoid the road traffic jams – is by rail, and the Scarva train station (which usually deals with a handful of trains every day) will be like a mini-Crewe junction.
On the way to the station in the morning, the ‘Black’ parade will stop at Portadown’s War Memorial for a service and the laying of wreaths – especially poignant in the middle of a series of events to mark the various anniversaries of World War One, which broke out in 1914.
Tickets for the general public to join the Great Trek to Scarva (and for the short rail journey) will be on sale in the morning – just £7 return for adults and £5 for children.
The parade will make its way from Carleton Street to the train station at Wilson Street, with Portadown (the biggest district) and supporters helping to swell the indigenous population of the hamlet from its usual 350 to 100,000. It’s a mammoth organisational task for Scarva RBP 1000 which bears the responsibility for the unique day, now established as the busiest annual tourism day in Northern Ireland.
Preceptories from parts of Counties Armagh and Down will take to Scarva’s main street en route to the demesne for the traditional march past at Scarvagh House and to the sham fight where King William is the favourite to defeat James and his army once again. No bookies will be there to offer wagers!
There will be the usual visitors from overseas – invariably Canada, Australian and New Zealand – and the Thirteenth (or Fourteenth this year) has a great turn-out of bands, with Scarva having a virtually monopoly of loyal order parades that day – not thinly spread like the Twelfth throughout Northern Ireland.
The detailed timetable is as follows - 08.45 - Roll-call Carleton Street. 09.00 - Parade leaves Carleton Street for service at town’s war memorial. 09.30 - First train leaves for Scarva. 11.15 - Parade in Scarva begins. 14.45 - Roll-call in field. 15.00 - Portadown District leaves field in Scarva. 15.15 - First train leaves Scarva for Portadown. 17.10 - Last train leaves Scarva. 17.30 - District parades moves of from Wilson Street. 18.00 - Parade splits for feeder parades after Saluting Base at Church Street.