THE Poppy Party weekend in Killyleagh to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Royal British Legion will draw large crowds to the Co Down town.
The event, organised by the Killyleagh Social Partnership, offers a wide range of activities for all ages and interests. It begins today (Friday 10th) with local schools visiting Killyleagh Castle to see a selection of vintage army vehicles on display.
As large crowds are expected through the weekend, there will be traffic management procedures in place to prevent any difficulties that may arise.
*Friday 10th, Evening – Reflections of Conflict
[caption id="attachment_23506" align="alignleft" width="400" caption="At the launch of the Great Poppy Party weekend in Killyeagh were back row, Dr Eddie Rea, Killyleagh Social Partnership, Moore Ruddock, WWI veteran, Killyleagh Primary DSchool principal Lesley Spence, Killyleagh RTBL chairman William Croskery, Ann Fee, Killyleagh Social Partnership, and dressed i poppies, Bob Perry, RBL vice-chairman. Frint row are Killleagh Primary School pupils Natasha Manganaro, Sam Carson, Alicia Martin and Rebekah Sullivan with Jerry and Dee Maxwell, WW2 Experience NI."]
An array of tales from conflicts of the past and present led by TV presenter Mike Nesbitt, with special guests including Col. John Edward Gray, a veteran of Korea, Sir John Gorman, whose capture of a super tiger tank in World War Two earned him an Military Cross, Col. Colin Weir, who has just returned from fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, and others. Around 300 visitors are expected to attend this opening at the Bridge Centre to the Poppy Party weekend. Complimentary bangers and mash will also be provided to kick start the festivities.
*Saturday 11th, Morning/Afternoon- 90th Anniversary Parade
The parade organised to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Royal British Legion will commence at 11am from the Net Walk, and will involve members of the Royal British Legion and standards from across Ireland. Killyleagh Castle will also host exhibits from both World Wars between 2pm and 5pm whilst providing activities to accommodate children attending at the event. The Wild Geese will also provide a parachute display at the Bridge Centre sport pitches at 5.30pm . Before the evening events begin those attending are encouraged to bring their own picnics and seats to the lawn of Killyleagh Castle to enjoy the special atmosphere it offers.
*Saturday 11th, Evening- Tattoo
The Tattoo will commence at 8pm at Killyleagh Castle with a fly past by the Air Cadets. The evenings entertainment will involve Pipers, Buglers, Irish Dancing, World War One re-enactments, and will conclude with a firework display that promises to end the days celebrations on a high. The evenings entertainment is anticipated to be a popular event and draw a crowd of at least 1,000.
*Sunday 12th, Afternoon- Sunday Parade
The Great Poppy Party weekend will conclude with a parade beginning at 2pm. The parade will boast a selection of vintage military vehicles, cars and tractors. The parade will proceed from Shrigley towards Killyleagh Castle. The range of vehicles on display is expected to attract visitors from all over Ireland and once again an estimated crowd of 1,000 is expected. Killyleagh Castle will host a range of games and competitions and World War One and World War Two displays between 2pm and 5pm. The weekends celebrations will culminate in a street party were organisers are encouraging people to “dress to impress.”
Those attending the weekend events are reminded that many of the events require tickets in order to attend. For further details about purchasing tickets please visit http://www.killyleagh.org/