Video: Thousands flock to Scarva

Armed with deck chairs and home-made sandwiches thousands of people flocked to Scarva on Saturday for an annual celebration that many insist is growing in popularity each year.

The small village bordering counties Armagh and Down turned red, white and blue for the day with stalls lining the streets and crowds arriving as early as 8am in anticipation of the main parade and Sham Fight.

Scarva village on the Thirteenth

Scarva village on the Thirteenth

Grand Secretary of the Orange Order Drew Nelson, who normally parades through the town with the Black Preceptory, took on a volunteering role as bus escort this year.

Mr Nelson praised all those who give of their time to make the event a success.

“I really must pay tribute to the people involved year in, year out and the many hundreds of hours they give to organise this event each year,” he said.

The crowd at Scarva was very much a mix of young and old with plenty of pushchairs in sight as families enjoyed the day.

While he may not have been on parade, three-year-old Caleb Black from Tandragee certainly put in a good performance on his toy snare drum as he waited for the bands to pass.

Seventeen-year-old Sacha Armstrong came along early with friends to get a prime spot in the crowd.

She said: “I’ve been looking forward to this day since July 14 last year!”

Seventy-three year-old Charles McGeeney from Markethill travelled to see the parade with his sister Florence.

A former King William in the Sham Battle, Charles said he was happy to enjoy a spectator’s role this year.

Deborah Cush, 44, from Waringstown told the News Letter she couldn’t believe the crowds in Scarva, and was very impressed by her first visit to the Thirteenth celebrations.

Her daughter Hannah Magowan, 13, described the event as “very big, very loud and very fun” - and that was before the parade had even begun.