Smallest Twelfth in picturesque village
The smallest Twelfth demonstration in Northern Ireland in terms of participants will take place in Broughshane tomorrow.
However, the organisers fully expect the village to be packed well beyond capacity to see the 11 proud lodges of Braid district step out.
Led by host lodge Pollee LOL 841 just behind King William on his white horse, there is expected to be roughly 350 Orangemen, eight bands and two sets of Lambeg drums on parade.
District Grand Master Dessie Gray commented: “To put it in perspective last Wednesday night was the Mini Twelfth in Broughshane.
“You couldn’t have got parked at five o’clock. We had a far bigger turn out than the likes of Ballymena.
“I would estimate 5,000 or 6,000 people were there that night. I’m expecting even more on the Twelfth.”
He added: “There was one year we had to stop the parade to get the village cleared so that the parade could get through.”
Dessie said that while the parade was a big attraction, people were also drawn to Broughshane on the Twelfth to see the garden village’s award-winning floral displays, its famous black swans and the historic Thatch Inn.
In February the sterling efforts of community-minded volunteers helped the Co Antrim village to the title of Channel 4’s Village of the Year.
Dessie said it was important that the decorations for the Twelfth did not overwhelm the village.
He said: “We have three flags on every lamppost right through the village. I hasten to add there’s no paramilitary flags.
“Nobody decorates the streets or paints the kerbs because there’s enough colour there already.
“We work very well with Broughshane and District Village Improvement committee which I am a member of as well.”
Grand Treasurer of the Orange Order in New Zealand, Alan Martin, will be one of the guests at Braid district’s annual Orange celebration.
Dessie said: “His ancestors came from Glenarm. As far as I know this will be his first time visiting.”