Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Hillsborough: International feel as tourists soak up pageantry of Twelfth

The Twelfth 2010. Belfast
Main Twelfth parade in Warringstown. July 2010
The Twelfth 2010. East Belfast

Attempts to rebrand the Twelfth as a tourist attraction were evident in Hillsborough where there was an international feel to the celebrations.

Up to 3,000 Orangemen, women and bands from 69 lodges participated in what was very much a family-friendly event.

At around 12.30pm the parade wound through the historic heart of the village led by a horse-drawn carriage, before concluding at Hillsborough Fort.

Hillsborough District LOL No. 19, celebrating its 90th birthday this year, led bands, including the Ferguson Memorial Pipe Band.

As a ‘Flagship’ Twelfth, the event did not disappoint as a standard bearer for the Orange Order’s celebrations.

Children happily played in the deckchair-lined streets, as their parents enjoyed ice cream and coffee with the pageantry.

Non-regular Twelfth goers mingled through the packed crowds to catch a glimpse of the bowler hats and sashes.

The level of tourists at the parade also typified the Orange Order’s attempt to rebrand the day.

Olwen Herron, originally from Northern Ireland, travelled to Hillsborough from Houston, Texas, with her friend to experience the Twelfth.

She said: “For me the Twelfth represents a place to see people you may not have seen for a while and to see families out together.

“I came today to show my American friend what the culture is all about.”

Lindsay Shepheard from Houston said she was excited to be at the parade.

“The atmosphere is great. It is kind of like our July 4th celebrations,” she said.

Anne Stott brought her daughters from Scotland to enjoy the day out.

She said: “This is something interesting for them to experience.

“The Twelfth is something I wanted my daughters to see.

“I’m from this part of the world and grew up with it, but they were born and live in Scotland.”

Yesterday was student Katie Stott’s first Twelfth.

She said: “I didn’t realise how large the event was until I arrived in Hillsborough.

“There are people everywhere. It’s great.”

Regular Twelfth-goer Peter Thompson from Lisburn said Hillsborough was a very successful host town: “The atmosphere in the village is great.

“There are a lot of families here enjoying this lovely weather.”

Seven districts including Lisburn, Glenavey, Magheragill, Hillsborough, Derriaghy, Ballinderry and Aghalee took part in the parade, which was last held in Hillsborough in 2003.

The day’s festivities ended with a religious service, resolutions and a Lambeg drumming party within Hillsborough Fort walls.

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