Chester's Midsummer Watch Parade 24 - 25 June 2017

12 June 2017

The country’s oldest and most colourful street parade, Chester’s Midsummer Watch Parade, returns on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 June. The famous medieval parade starts from Town Hall square at 2pm featuring the Chester family of giants.

The Summer Watch dating from 1498 was originally performed by the City Guilds at Midsummer. It was disbanded in the 1670’s before being revived in1989.

Schools across the borough have been creating new characters for the parade in workshops run by Chester artist Russell Kirk. Boughton Heath Primary School will be Green Men; Dee Point Primary School will carry Suns. Belgrave Primary School and Kelsall Primary School will create a shoal of fish. Mill View Primary School become Pirates, Cherry Grove Primary School will be Angels and Chester Blue Coat Primary School will be Unicorns. UCF School join the parade as Elephants whilst Hoole Primary School will join St Werburgh as Geese. Newton Primary School will be a flock of Ravens and Upton Westlea Primary School will be Fiery Monsters.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing said: “The Midsummer Watch Parade has to be one of our summer highlights with up to 500 local people celebrating Chester’s unique history. 

“The characters in the parade are based on descriptions from the city archives including our famous family of giants. The Parade always attracts a huge audience that seems to grow every year.” The parade is 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, Balaam's Ass,  Cernunnus the Celtic Lord of the Forest, Devil Band and dancers. The Midsummer Watch 'Family of Giants' the father, mother and two daughters are towering 4 metre figures.

Said Russell: “This year welcomes a new Devil figure and a new Sun in the parade.  We’ll have musicians throughout the parade including Karamba Samba, Sambadouro Samba, The Motley Crew, Unicorn Brass Ensemble, Wolfgate Border Morris, Marinella and the Devil band.”

The parades will leave Chester Town Hall Square at 2pm on both days continuing to; St Werburgh Street, Eastgate St, Bridge Street, Pepper Street, St John’s Street, Eastgate Street; returning to the Town Hall for a finale via Northgate Street

The Midsummer Watch website www.midsummerwatch.co.uk includes photographs and video from previous years plus a history of the parade.

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