Portadown Orange District No 1 will be scoring a momentous ‘double’ on the Twelfth of July as it hosts a flagship demonstration.
The Portadown event is also set to be the biggest demonstration in Orangeism.
The 11 districts from all over Co Armagh will gather in the town in the morning, with Portadown District setting off from Carleton Street at 9.15. After the wreath-laying ceremony at the War Memorial, they will march through the town centre to Edenderry (opposite Joseph Street), the gathering point for the county’s 5,000 Brethren from 154 Orange lodges.
The parade will move off from Edenderry, starting at 10.15am, in this order as the lodges arrive – Portadown, Richhill, Killylea, Loughgall, Lurgan, Newtownhamilton, Markethill, Armagh, Tandragee, Bessbrook and Keady. The 10,000-strong parade will be led by Edgarstown Accordion Band and Portadown Ex-Servicemen’s LOL No 608.
District Master Darryl Hewitt and his officers will be prominent at the front of the parade. The route will be through the town centre, and via Church Street to the field at Armagh Road,, where there will be all the fun of the fair, and - at around lunchtime - the platform resolutions and the religious service.
The Co Armagh demonstration usually attracts upwards of 20,000 spectators, including many from across the border in Monaghan and Cavan. Among those attending will be Deputy Grand Master Harold Henning, who will be the guest speaker at the field.
Approximately 80 bands, including four from Scotland, will accompany the lodges with some of the finest pipe, accordion, silver and flute bands on parade. Scores of Lambeg drums will also add much sound to the occasion.
By 12.45pm, all districts should be in the field. The Chair will be taken at 1.45pm by the County Grand Master, Denis Watson, and proceedings will include the traditional religious service and act of remembrance, conducted by the County Chaplains. The address will be given by Cecil Allen, District Chaplain.
The platform proceedings will conclude with the customary Resolution of Thanks, introduced by the Deputy County Grand Master, Joseph Campbell, who will also present the county shield for the best band on parade.
The return parade is scheduled to leave the field at 3pm, led by members of Killylea District LOL No 7, and reviewed by Grand Lodge and County officers. To mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme Portadown District commissioned the production of a commemorative coin to mark the historic event when so many laid down their lives.
Meanwhile, Juniors in the District also produced a ‘carpet of poppies’ which will feature at the War Memorial.