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Thousands expected at Alban Day on Saturday 22 June

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Thousands of people are expected at one of the biggest St Albans City Centre events of the year – Alban Day.

For the first time, the Alban Pilgrimage and the Alban Street Festival are being held on the same day to create one unmissable occasion on Saturday 22 June. St Albans BID (Business Improvement District) is sponsoring the event.

The annual Pilgrimage – organised by St Albans Cathedral - is a spectacular parade of giant puppets that tell the story of Alban, Britain’s first Christian martyr.

The procession begins at 11am from St Peter's Church and will move along St Peters Street, the High Street and George Street with the roads closed temporarily to traffic.

The colourful procession will include Roman centurions, chariots and lions, creating the atmosphere of ancient times.

It will culminate in a gathering at the Cathedral Orchard where the execution of Alban will be re-enacted.

Families will then be able to enjoy a picnic as well as a number of entertaining activities.

The Council is organising the Alban Festival which in previous years was held on the following day.

It will provide a City Centre focus running alongside the regular Charter Market and include exciting attractions such as live music at the Clock Tower, craft activities and henna tattoos.

Many historic characters from the City’s past, played by professional actors, will be present to interact with the crowds.

By chance, Windrush Day also falls on Saturday 22 June and is being celebrated with events by the Vintry Garden.

This will include Caribbean music and food as well as the chance for people to play dominoes, an integral part of Caribbean culture.

Robin Ray, the Council’s Assistant Director (Regulatory and Compliance) for Community and Place Delivery, said:

This one unforgettable event brings together the Pilgrimage, the Street Festival and the Charter Market to provide residents and visitors with numerous attractions and entertainment, much of it free. We will also be marking Windrush Day with Caribbean food and music.

I’d urge everyone to make a note in their diary and come along to what promises to be a fabulous day.

Vivien Cannon from St Albans BID said:

The Cathedral and Council have united for Alban Day to make sure our unique status in being the place of the first Christian saint for England is commemorated and celebrated. 

Our namesake is integral to St Albans; it's our calling card to all our residents and visitors. It’s history, religion and culture combined, and BID’s sponsorship shows how proud we are of our vibrant City.

The Revd Dr Kevin Walton, Canon Chancellor at the Cathedral, said:

Saturday 22 June happens to be St Alban’s Day itself, the day that Alban was executed for his faith on the site of the Cathedral, making him Britain’s first saint and martyr. 

We hope that people will come from across our City and District to celebrate our shared patron saint. We invite all people to come and join in our procession as we move from St Peter’s Church, pass the Museum and onto the West End of the Cathedral where we witness Alban’s dramatic execution.

It is especially fitting that our preacher for the Pilgrimage Eucharist will be Bishop Guli Francis-Dehqani, the Bishop of Chelmsford. Bishop Guli was born in Iran but had to escape religious persecution with her family, finding a shelter and home in this country. “It is a reminder that the story of Alban’s hospitality to a priest seeking refuge still resonates so strongly today.

We are really looking forward to seeing two new puppets appear for the first time, the Cathedral’s own breeding pair of peregrine falcons, Alban and Boudica. The word ‘peregrine’ itself means ‘pilgrim,’ so it is only right that they should feature with the thousands of other pilgrims who will be with us for this great celebration.

Contact for the media: John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, 01727 819533,