More than 30,000 people are expected to descend on Derry tomorrow for the Orange Order’s flagship 12th of July demonstration.
The Derry march is one of 18 taking part across the north and marks the end of a series of free cultural events held in the city as part of the City of Culture celebrations.
The Grand Masters of Ireland, England and Scotland will be at the Derry march - a first for the loyal order.
Orange Order Director of Services, Dr David Hume, said: “We are delighted that Londonderry will be the flagship tourist Twelfth of 2013 in what is a very
special year for the city. The fact that this will be the only flagship of 2013 highlights the importance which the Grange Orange Lodge of Ireland places on the UK City of Culture status which has been accorded to Londonderry and Northern Ireland.
“The organisers of the Twelfth in Londonderry are offering a varied festival and their demonstration takes place in one of the most historic venues in Ulster.
“We are encouraging the Orange Twelfth hosts who will be trained to act as ambassadors for the event on the day to engage with local hoteliers and those involved in the tourist industry. We look forward to providing a training package for those who have agreed to be hosts.”
He added: “Twelfth flagship status places a great onus on the organisers of a particular Twelfth and we have every confidence that the officers and members of the City Grand Lodge in Londonderry will provide a fantastic event and wish them well in their planning.”
Chair of Culture Company 2013, Martin Bradley said it is fitting that Derry would host the Order’s flagship parade.
“It’s fantastic that as Derry-Londonderry glories in its status as UK City of Culture the city is playing host to an extensive programme of Orange Order events.
“Given that 2013 is such landmark year for the city, marking as it does the 400th anniversary of the granting of the city charter and the building of the city walls, it’s particularly fitting that Derry-Londonderry will be the location for key elements of the Orange Order’s flagship celebrations.”