New era for Bilton Gala as parade is dropped for first time in 41 years

Last year's parade at the Bilton Gala.
Last year's parade at the Bilton Gala.
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Organisers of the 41st Bilton Gala are hoping for good weather and lots of visitors despite the fact there will be no parade and gala queen for the first time ever.

After years of tradition, the Bilton Gala will see a few changes this May Bank Holiday, following a vote to drop the parade and donate the money saved to charity.

As a result there will also be no gala queen, but Bilton Gala Committee Member Jo Huddart said numbers for the parade had been dropping, and that the committee had received no adverse feedback.

She said: “It’s only a small committee and it takes quite a lot of manpower to man the parade with road closures and legislation and so on.

“Four fifths of the committee are taken from the field to man the parade and there are only five of us on the committee.”

She added: “It means we are going to save £2,000 which we will then donate to charity instead.

“We put it to public vote, it was on Facebook and Twitter. People did vote in favour of that plan but we haven’t had any other feedback from the public.

“We won’t have to close any roads so Bilton residents will also be happy about that.

“And because we are not having a parade there’s nothing for a gala queen to do.

“No one has had any issues with that either so we thought we would try it and see what happens. We have still got lots of attractions though!”

One of the main attractions this year’s Gala boasts is Steve Colley - the bike stunt artist who will wow the crowds with his BMX tricks.

As well as facepainting, magic shows, a climbing wall and a birds of prey display for the children, there will also be food and a bar for adults.

Jo said: “There are lots of things going on that we have organised, the only thing we can’t organise is the weather.”

This year the Gala will not take place in the usual Hall Lane field, after Harrogate Borough Council required the organisers to undertake a terrorism risk assessment for the event.

Instead the activities will be on the Richard Taylor Primary School fields.

The Gala is on Bank Holiday Monday, May 7.

Tickets for are £2 for adults, 50p for children over 3 and children under 3 go free.