Bilton Gala

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For over 30 years, a true community event called Bilton Gala has taken place on May Day Bank Holiday Monday, in the heart of one of the oldest and biggest suburbs of Harrogate called (you guessed it) Bilton. If this year’s Bilton Gala was a newspaper, it would be a bank holiday special edition of The Sun, with a headline of “Phew, what a scorcher!”. There was loads to see and do…

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The best thing I saw there was a Ball Python that Sophie got to hold called Trevor. The worst thing I saw there was an advert to hire a Playboy branded bouncy castle. Stay classy Harrogate.

Stalls promoting and fundraising for various charities; tombolas, raffles, jams and nick nacks – and classic hook a duck type side shows and the like, rides, quad bikes and water zorbs (as pictured to the right of the above panorama – they looked fun). The event has spread out from the the original school field setting of 1977 to eclipse several other neighboring fields. As well as the attractions and scores of stalls, a main arena boasting such events as Lama Racing served as the central hub. The crowning of the Bilton Gala King and Queen, being the main event.

It had a very local feel to it. Thankfully, a safe and friendly, polite and convivial atmosphere. Queues were in abundance – the 15 minute queue I stood in for a pint and a coke for Felix (pint for me) didn’t have the slightest shade of impatience to it. All very British.  This year, I’d guess was a record year and the first year I’ve been to in a few years that the weather was on top form. I’ve never seen it so busy. A total antitheses of the event we dropped into for the day yesterday (ancient pagan festival on a 5000 year old site). Total opposite ends of the cultural spectrum.

After an hour or two at the Gala – mainly milling about and chatting to people we knew, we were lucky enough to spend the back end of the afternoon in my Auntie’s back field looking out over Almscliffe Crag. Glorious warm sunny weather, utterly chilled, with snacks and drinks on tap and chats about everything, under the sun. The best part of the day by far.

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