Huge crowds set for Monday’s Bilton Gala

The Harrogate Sea Cadet Band at last year's Bilton Gala.
The Harrogate Sea Cadet Band at last year's Bilton Gala.
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Crowds of thousands are set to line the streets of Bilton this Bank Holiday weekend for the biggest community event of the year.

Every year, the Bilton Gala draws huge crowds for the traditional family day and parade.

It’s the biggest community event in the Harrogate district

Stuart Frost

Organisers of this year’s event, to be held this coming Bank Holiday Monday, May 4, say it is set to be the biggest yet.

“It’s arguably the biggest ever this year,” said gala chairman Stuart Frost.

“We’ve got more stands than ever before, we’ve brought in different attractions.

“All we need now is the sunshine to make it a truly unforgettable day.”

Sponsored by Roots & Fruits of King Edwards Drive and Verity Frearson, the annual gala is held on the playing fields of Richard Taylor School.

New entertainment this year includes archery, a miniature train, and five donkeys from Saltburn beach. They will join some traditional favourites, including main ring entertainers the Zero Gravity Stunt Show and Ben Potter’s Birds of Prey display.

Gala queen this year is Megan Welford, aged 10 from Bilton Grange School, who will be accompanied by attendants Lucy Tyson, 10, also of Bilton Grange School, and Ella Mizen, aged eight, of Western Primary School.

More than 60 stands from local groups, charities and organisations will line the gala fields.

And the event will also feature a children’s farm with calves, lambs and piglets, a huge climbing wall, kiddie quad bikes, Diddy Dennis the child friendly fire engine, bouncy castles, go-karts, bungee trampolines, a fairground, and a whole host of other attractions.

There are two fancy dress competitions, one for children aged five and under, and one for those aged six to 11. Both have a circus theme.

“We’ve got all the usual favourites, with some new exciting ones as well,” said Mr Frost. “I would like to think we’ve got a good mix of traditional favourites, with a bit of modern.”

All profits made on the day are ploughed back into the community through the gala’s charity arm. Around £4,000 was given to local groups last year including the library and the community centre.

“It’s a great line up,” said Mr Frost. “And it’s a great testament to the hard work of the five committee members that make it happen every year.

“It’s the biggest community event in the Harrogate district. People don’t realise how big it’s become, but 6,000 is a lot of people. We’re having trouble fitting everything in!”

Gates open at noon on Monday, May 4. Entry is £2 for adults and 50p for under 16s. To find out more, visit www.biltongala.org.uk.

Parade to feature colourful circus acts

Gala organisers say this year’s event is set to be one of the biggest yet, with a host of new attractions.

Crowds of thousands will line the streets around Bilton for the start of the traditional parade at 12.30pm, with dozens of local groups, schools, and charities participating.

The annual mile-long parade will be led this year by led the North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service Pipe Band, starting on Meadowcroft in Bilton.

Gala Queen Megan Welford, aged 10 and from Bilton Grange School, will join the parade as it winds its way through Bilton.

She will be accompanied this year by attendants Lucy Tyson, 10, also of Bilton Grange School, and Ella Mizen, aged eight, of Western Primary School.

This year’s parade has a circus them, and clowns, stilt walkers, uni-cyclers and entertainers will join the crowds. Also taking part in the parade will be gala mascot Billowby Bear, the Sea Cadets Band, Harrogate and District Travel, North Yorkshire Fire, Harrogate Town FC, Bilton Grange School, Richard Taylor School, the Spa Town Roller Girls, Scout and Brownie groups, vintage cars, and dozens of local businesses.

For full timings visit www.biltongala.org.uk