“LARGEST 12th PARADE IN THE WORLD”
The County Armagh Twelfth Demonstration is now regarded as the largest gathering of Orangemen on the day and encompasses the full range of the Orange family. 11 Districts will be on parade, with a total of 154 Lodges and almost 5,000 brethren; in addition, ladies from the Women's Institution will take part, along with several Junior Boys and 2 Junior Girls Lodges. Co Armagh Grand Orange Lodge has had another significant increase in membership in the past year and is the only County Grand Lodge with its own museum at Sloan's House in Loughgall - the "Museum of Orange Heritage" which of course recently received the Royal Seal of Approval with the visit by HRH, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales. The Armagh Demonstration usually attracts upwards of 15,000 spectators, including some from across the Border, but that figure is likely to be exceeded this year with the demonstration in "The Orange Citadel" of Portadown.
Approximately 80 bands will accompany the Lodges and some of the finest Pipe, Accordion, Silver and Flute Bands in the country will be on parade. There are always approximately 4 Scottish bands on parade at the Co Armagh demonstration and as the "County of the Diamond" is renowned for the Lambeg Drum, dozens will be accompanying the brethren if the weather is good.
There will be at least three new banners on parade this year, namely those for Ballyworkan Truth Defenders LOL 19, Portadown District; Ballyrea LOL 309, Killylea District; and Crosskeys LOL 88, Keady District
The County Armagh Twelfth rotates around the Districts in an eleven-year cycle and this year it is the turn of Portadown District LOL No. 1 to host the celebrations. The District is the largest within Co Armagh, with 28 Private Lodges and almost 850 brethren; there will be about 10 local bands on parade with the host District. The brethren of the "Hub of the North" are looking forward to hosting the parade for the first time since 2005 and to mark the event, a special souvenir medal has been produced to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
The Lodges of the host District will assemble at Carleton Street Orange Hall from 8.30am and joined by Grand Lodge and County Grand Lodge Officers, will then proceed to the War Memorial in the centre of the town for a short Memorial Service, to commemorate all those who paid the supreme sacrifice in the 2 World Wars and other conflicts, including The Troubles. From there, the District will parade to Edenderry, to meet the first of the visiting Districts who will arrive from 9.30am onwards. The main parade, led by Edgarstown Accordion Band and Portadown Ex-Servicemen's LOL 608, is to commence at 10.15am, headed by Grand Lodge and County Grand Lodge Officers.
Portadown District will be followed by Richhill. Killylea, Loughgall, Lurgan, Newtownhamilton and Markethill Districts; the remainder of the Districts, namely, Armagh, Tandragee, Bessbrook and Keady will parade as they arrive, and by 12.45pm, all Districts should be in the Demonstration Field.
The parade route is: Bridge Street - High Street - Market Street - Church Street - Armagh Road. There are car parks provided close to the Demonstration Field and parking for persons with a disability along the parade route. There will be ample public car parks for spectators in the town centre
In the Field on the main Armagh/Portadown Road, all the usual stalls and food venders will be set up, along with church tents selling tea and sandwiches. There will be activities for children and as always impromptu band and Lambeg Drum rehearsals. The field is owned by Portadown District, having been purchased a few years ago.
The Chair will be taken at 1.45pm by the County Grand Master, Rt Wor Bro Denis J Watson JP, and proceedings will commence with the traditional religious service and Act of Remembrance, conducted by the County Chaplains. The Address will be given by Wor Bro Cecil Allen, Portadown District Chaplain and a member of Kilmoriarty Bible and Crown Defenders LOL 31.
After the service, the Twelfth Resolutions will be proposed and passed. The first on "Faith" will be proposed by Wor Bro Roger Gardiner, County Grand Secretary; the second on "Loyalty" by Wor Bro Darryl Hewitt, Portadown Worshipful District Master, and the third on "The State" by Wor Bro Harold Henning, Deputy Grand Master, Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland. During the proceedings, a charity collection will be taken up.
The platform proceedings will conclude with the customary Resolution of Thanks, introduced by the Deputy County Grand Master, Wor Bro Joseph Campbell DGMI, who will also present the County Shield for the Best Band on parade.
The return parade is scheduled to commence from the Demonstration Field at 3.00pm, with Killylea District LOL No 7 being the first to leave. The parade route will be the reverse of the morning and the Grand Lodge and County Officers will review the parade at an appropriate point. Each District will depart at the allocated time and board the buses on the Seagoe or Lurgan Roads. Portadown District will be the last to leave the Demonstration Field at 5.15pm.
Friday, 1 July: Somme 100th Anniversary Commemoration, in conjunction with the local Royal British Legion Branch - 7.00am at Portadown War Memorial
Friday, 1 July: Somme Anniversary Service in St Mark's Parish Church, at 7.00pm
Friday, 8 July: Dedication of Demonstration Field on Armagh Road, at 8.00pm
Saturday, 9 July: Family Fun Evening in the Demonstration Field, Armagh Road, including Firework Display, Willie Drennan, etc
Sunday, 10 July: "Songs of Praise" in Seagoe Parish Church, at 7.00pm `