Memories shared of a treasured Ripon tradition: Still time to enter a float or shop window for the St Wilfrid's Procession

The St Wilfrid's Procession in Ripon in 1908.
The St Wilfrid's Procession in Ripon in 1908.

A wave of nostalgia is sweeping through Ripon ahead of this year's St Wilfrid's Procession on August 5, as residents share their fond memories of the special tradition.

Organisers are urging local businesses to enter the procession's shop window competition, and there is still time to enter a float.

Ripon City Development Assistant Sally Close, who has lived in the city all of her life, and is helping to promote the shop window competition, said:

"We are still looking for more float entries this year, and we would love to see more businesses entering the shop window competition. It's really special to be involved in the procession.

"It's a tradition that Ripon people have always been involved with from being children, and many moons ago most of us will have all been on a float.

"It's something that's really close to our hearts. It is a very special tradition that is unique to Ripon, with a very special history.

"I have memories of being involved when I was six or seven. I remember it as a very community based event, we helped to decorate the floats. It was in the 70s, and parents made our costumes.

"I can remember being a bumblebee and a butterfly, and Queen Victoria at one point.

"It is something I look back on with very fond memories. The streets were lined three or four deep with Riponians celebrating it.

"Knaresborough has its bed race, and I think this has the same uniqueness.

"One of my highlights last year was a police tractor in the parade, in a rural area it was something so special. And we love a tractor in Ripon, it gave a toot toot as it went through."

Sally said the floats are a chance to celebrate all of the community groups and organisations that make Ripon special.

She said: "It would be wonderful to see more float entries, including some from community groups and all the other great places and things that make the city unique.

"EuroAudit offer £50 to all new entries towards the cost of creating a float. There is a lot of support available for anyone who would like to get involved.

"I think St Wilfrid's Procession will always go on, the feeling for it is too strong. If it was to be lost, we would be losing something so important to Ripon."

The deadline to enter the shop window competition is July 31, and judging is on August 4.

The categories for the float competition are: Best overall, most entertaining, best decorated, best newcomer, best school or youth group, and best pub or club.

If you would like to enter the competition, or have a float, email with your business name, business address and telephone number.

History of the St Wilfrid's Procession

The procession is to honour Ripon's Patron Saint, St Wilfrid, who founded Ripon Cathedral in the 7th century.

In 1108 King Henry I granted permission to the city to hold a fair to mark the birth of the saint on July 30 and Ripon has held on to this tradition.

The parade is led by an actor playing the saint on his horse, and is followed by floats that travel around Ripon passing the market place between 2pm and 4pm. There are fairground rides on the market place, morris dancers and more.