Thousands of Apprentice Boys, band members and their supporters will march through the city centre tomorrow for the annual ‘Lundy’s Day’ demonstrations.
In the past the march was often a scene of confrontation and resulted in violence but in recent years, thanks to dialogue and effort, it has passed off peacefully.
It is yet another indication of the success of the approach to parading pioneered in Derry over the last ten to fifteen years.
These days the only adverse effect of the parade is its impact on trade in the city centre in the run-up to Christmas. Even this has been lessened by the decision taken by the Apprentice Boys - to their credit - several years ago to move the date of the march to the start of December.
In addition, the Apprentice Boys have made efforts to promote the event as a tourist attraction. There is no doubt that the demonstration, as a highly-visual cultural event commemorating one of the most significant eras in the city’s history, the Siege, has the potential to attract visitors to the city.
Some might say it’s difficult to market the punishment of a perceived slight from hundreds of years ago as a visitor attraction. But there’s no doubting the impact of the burning of the effigy of Lundy as spectacle.
The Apprentice Boys have shown their willingness to contribute to progress in creating a more welcoming atmosphere at commemorative events, both for the local communities and for visitors.
It must be possible to create an event everyone can appreciate and enjoy while retaining its historic significance.