Weekend event is a celebration of all that is great about Alban and his namesake city
- Credit: Archant
Everything Alban was celebrated last weekend as crowds flocked to the city centre for two days of music, performance and entertainment.
The Alban Weekend began on Saturday with the annual Alban Pilgrimage procession celebrating the city’s eponymous saint.
Giant puppets paraded from St Peter’s Church to the cathedral to recount the dramatic story of Alban, believed to be this country’s first Christian martyr when he was executed in 304AD.
Hundreds of local children were also involved in the procession dressed as Roman soldiers, lions, roses and stained glass windows.
Services took place in the cathedral throughout the day and among the preachers was the Rt Rev Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, who said: “It was an enourmous privilege to preach at the Alban Festival and to take part in the celebrations of Alban’s life that have been sustained over so many generations.
“In openness to those in need, in courage and in steadfastness in the faith, Alban remains an example to us all. It was lovely to have shared both in the joy and in recommitment to the poor which his example offers us.”
Sunday found the city thrown open to the Alban Street Festival. As well as music from The Rodford Files, led by former Kinks member Jim Rodford, there was entertainment from street performers, face painters, pop-up theatre from the St Albans Shakespeare Festival and music from St Albans Folk Festival.
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There was an opportunity for visitors to try their hand at building St Albans on 12 computers in what is thought to be the UK’s first Minecraft Hackathon, mass folk dancing, cage football and beat the goalie, golf and tennis sessions.
Hundreds took part in a community marathon, taking it in turns to run round a small circuit together covering 100 miles during the six-hour festival.
More than 50 food and drink stalls plied their trade and there were numerous arts and crafts stalls.
Richard Shwe, St Albans council’s head of community services, said: “The Alban Weekend draws in thousands of visitors to St Albans city centre. They not only enjoy the entertainment on offer, but also support the local economy by spending money in local shops, restaurants and cafes.
“We are interested to receive feedback on the weekend and ideas on how we can improve it for next year.”