CHESTER’S famous medieval Midsummer Watch Parade featuring the family of city giants returns this month.
The parade - one of the country’s oldest and most colourful – will take place on Saturday and Sunday, June 21 and 22, starting from the Town Hall Square.
Originally staged by the City Guilds at Midsummer, the first recorded parade was in 1498 but it was disbanded in the 1670s until its revival in 1989.
Schools across the borough will come together following a series of workshops run by Chester artist Russell Kirk to make new characters for the parade.
Belgrave and Hoole Primary will be Angels and Mill View Primary will be Fiery Monsters. Charles Darwin Primary and the Cathedral Sunday School will join St Werburgh as Geese. Upton Heath are Fish, while Pine Lodge become Green Men.
Newton Primary joins the Elephant and Castle, and Cherry Grove will be carrying Suns.
Also taking part in the parade are Minerva Arts as Ravens, the Cheshire Young Carers Network as Dragons, CO2 dance group as Suns plus performers from across the Borough.
The Lord Mayor of Chester, Cllr Bob Rudd will join the parade on Saturday.
Cllr Rudd said: “The Midsummer Watch parade is a unique and special event in Chester. I would like to thank the many people who take part and also welcome the thousands of spectators who will visit the city during the weekend of the parade.”
Mr Kirk added: “This is pageantry which is unique to Chester; a very special event which helps to make our city the place that it is. Community, culture, art and heritage working together – this is Chester at its best.”
The Midsummer Watch parade includes a cast of up to 500 with pride of place going to Chester’s unique Family of Giants – the father, mother and two daughters – huge four metre-high figures.
The parade will be led by the Summer Watch drummer and the City Guilds followed by a pirate ship, an elephant and castle ridden by a cupid shooting arrows, dragons, angels, the Chester Ravens, unicorn, stag, hobby horses, St Werburgh, green men, camel, devil band and dancers.
Two new structures will join the cast of characters this year; Balaam’s Ass – an Old Testament character which was part of the event in the late 1600s, and a major new build Cernunnus, Celtic Lord of the Forest or Stag Lord which was specially commissioned by Chester Festival of Trees.
The parades will leave Chester Town Hall Square at 2pm on both days continuing to St Werburgh Street, Eastgate Street, Bridge Street, Pepper Street, St John’s Street and Eastgate Street, before returning to the Town Hall for a finale via Northgate Street.
For more information visit www.midsummerwatch.co.uk
See full story in the Chester Leader