Portchester prepares for its annual gala celebration

DRESSED UP Castle Primary School pupils with their Alice in Wonderland-inspired float last year
DRESSED UP Castle Primary School pupils with their Alice in Wonderland-inspired float last year

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RECORD crowds are expected to pack out Portchester once again as it hosts its popular annual gala.

This Saturday will see the return of the gala which is held at the Roman fort of Portchester Castle.

The fun begins with a parade through the village, with children from local schools taking part.

Sarah Moss, manager of Portchester Community Centre, said: ‘It’s a community event which has been running since 1908.

‘All the floats are local and most of the stalls are too.

‘It’s essential to some charities – it’s their main fundraising event.

‘And it raises the profile of the local activities that are available.

‘It’s a very inexpensive day out for families.

‘We want all ages to come in. That’s very much the aim.

‘We want to have more activities for young people.

‘It can be seen as an older person’s event, but it’s not.’

Sarah said the annual gala was a vital contribution to Portchester’s sense of community spirit.

‘It’s a very vibrant community here,’ she said.

‘We are the big society. We are really good at this stuff in Portchester.

‘The community comes together on a day like this.

‘People decorate their houses as the floats go by.’

Activities and events taking place on the day include face painting, a Diamond Jubilee Royalty Look-a-Like competition, a display of vintage and military vehicles, a selection of stalls, and a fun fair.

There will be a raffle, with tickets available to buy in advance from the community centre or on the day at the Portchester Community Association stall.

Councillor Roger Price added: ‘The gala is something which from my point of view is the highlight of Portchester’s year.

‘Hopefully we will get sunshine this year.

‘It’s an excellent event for Portchester.

‘It brings all the clubs, groups and organisations together to create a village fair.’

The parade will start from Portchester Community Centre at 11.30am.

Entry is free but donations can be made.