New Roman Festival launched to celebrate St Albans history

PUBLISHED: 13:18 20 May 2019 | UPDATED: 13:19 20 May 2019

The Alban Pilgrimage is an annual event, which is now part of the new Roman Festival. Picture: Richard Gillin

The Alban Pilgrimage is an annual event, which is now part of the new Roman Festival. Picture: Richard Gillin

Richard Gillin

A new Roman Festival is being launched in St Albans to celebrate the city's ample history.

The Ermine Street Guard will reenact Roman battles. Picture: Michael BradleyThe Ermine Street Guard will reenact Roman battles. Picture: Michael Bradley

It is timed to tie in with the Alban Pilgrimage, where people of all ages march through the city centre in a procession down to St Albans Cathedral.

Participants of all ages will be dressed as Roman soldiers, lions, and angels, and holding 12ft puppets representing key figures in the Alban story.

Following the procession, from 12pm, the Alban Fest will take place at the Abbey Orchard in Verulamium Park.

This is an afternoon of Roman themed activities, such as medieval pilgrim badge demonstrations, clay sculpting, music from The Maida Vales, festival glitter, face painting, crafts, games, food and music.

There will be a new Roman Festival in St Albans. Picture: Richard GillinThere will be a new Roman Festival in St Albans. Picture: Richard Gillin

A reenactment group called the Ermine Street Guard will also emulate a Roman battle.

It has all been organised by St Albans Cathedral and funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

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Dean of St Albans, The Very Rev Dr Jeffrey John, said: "The city of St Albans is steeped in over 1,700 years of heritage, which includes the story of its namesake, Alban, a citizen of Roman Verulamium and Britain's first saint.

One of the activities in the St Albans Roman Festival will be Toga Yoga at the Abbey Orchard: Picture: Judith ParryOne of the activities in the St Albans Roman Festival will be Toga Yoga at the Abbey Orchard: Picture: Judith Parry

"We are looking forward to welcoming people to celebrate our remarkable history."

Local businesses are also involved in the Roman Festival, including the Alban Street Festival, St Albans Film Festival, St Albans Folk Festival, St Albans Museums, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, the Roman Theatre of Verulamium, St Albans Clock Tower and The Odyssey Cinema.

The whole festival will include Roman-themed film screenings and performances, talks and tours, and Toga Yoga.

Community engagement officer at St Albans district council, Katie Foweraker, said the Alban Street Festival will host a Roman market alongside mosaic and pottery workshops.

She said: "The Alban Weekend is always extremely popular with thousands of local people and visitors coming in to the city to be part of it all.

"It is a real highlight in the St Albans summer calendar, and not to be missed."

St Albans Film Festival will be showing Gladiator on an outdoor screen as part of the festivities.

The Roman Festival will take place from June 21 to 30. Find out more at www.stalbanscathedral.org

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