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Music and colour signal midsummer in Chester

Published date: 24 June 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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THOUSANDS of people visited Chester on a beautiful day for this year’s Midsummer Watch parade.

The parade, which dates back to the 1400s, is one of the oldest and most colourful in the country.

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.

The Midsummer Watch parade featured a line-up of up to 500 with pride of place going to Chester’s unique Family of Giants – the four metre-high father, mother and two daughters.

The parade left from Chester Town Hall Square 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.

Schools across the area took part, with Belgrave Primary in Westminster Park and Hoole Primary performing as angels and Mill View Primary, Upton, as fiery monsters. Charles Darwin Primary, Northwich and the Cathedral Sunday School joined St Werburgh and St Columba’s, Hoole, as geese. Upton Heath were fish, while Pine Lodge, Chester, became green men.

Newton Primary joined as the elephant and castle while children from Cherry Grove, Boughton, carried suns.

Minerva Arts also took part in the parade as ravens, the Cheshire Young Carers Network as dragons, CO2 dance group as suns.

The Lord Mayor of Chester, Cllr Bob Rudd, inspected the proceedings.

Hoole artist Russell Kirk, who created the giants through a series of workshops with schools in the area, said: “It was a fantastic success. We had a lot of new people involved and a couple of new structures.

“Nowhere does this event, it is unique to the city.

“It was certainly a beautiful Midsummer’s Day which made the whole event much better because it made a lot of people come out to see us. The city was a very lively place on the weekend with all the events which were going on. It was another example of culture and arts working together which is what Chester does best.

“It is a good collaboration between the city and culture and we should thank the cathedral and CWaC for supporting it and the Lord Mayor and the Romans.”

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