Organisers say that preparations are well under way for this year’s Bilton Gala in Harrogate.
The popular community event will take place in the grounds of Richard Taylor Primary School on Monday 7 May and the theme is ‘Royalty’ to mark the forthcoming wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
As in previous years, visitors can expect plenty of entertainment, but the five members of the Bilton Gala committee have decided that there will not be a parade.
The cost of staging the parade, including charges for road closures, is around £2,000.
Organisers say that the number of people watching it has fallen over the last few years, and the challenge to get local groups and businesses to take part has become increasingly difficult.
The committee felt that the £2,000 could be put to better use, but it was important that people in Bilton had their say on the future of the parade first.
An online poll was held on Twitter and Facebook. From 179 votes, 50% were in favour of retaining the parade and 50% in favour of donating the money saved to local good causes instead.
Cancelling the parade is a risky decision and could see gate numbers fall. Many family go the gala as they have children in the parade. It also gives a reason for people going to the gala from the very start as they turn up to see the parade.
The organisers are now appealing for suggestions of what the money should be spent on in the Bilton area.
Chairman Stuart Frost:
Although tradition is a big part of this event, it’s also important that we move with the times, refresh our offering and ultimately support more local groups and projects.
We considered the future of the parade very carefully and thank everyone who had their say in our online poll. Whilst we know that some people will be disappointed by the decision, we hope that they will appreciate us putting extra money into the Bilton Community Fund.
Please keep supporting this fantastic event, like you have for the last 41 years. We hope you enjoy another great day out at Bilton Gala.
Treasurer Alan Huddart added:
In the last few years, the costs of staging Bilton Gala have become increasingly prohibitive.
In addition to this, council bureaucracy has made the organisation more difficult. We would encourage authorities to be more supportive of local events, especially at a time when it’s more important than ever to bring communities together.
Bilton Gala will be open from 12pm on the day and entry fees remain unchanged at £2 for adults and 50p for children aged under 16.