The annual Sham fight at Scarva is now recognised as a unique cultural event in the Northern Ireland calendar.
It is the biggest one-day event at a single location in Northern Ireland attracting 100,000 people to see a major procession and a re-enactment of the Battle of the Boyne.
This year’s event which takes place on Wednesday 13th July, will see more emphasis placed on explaining the background to the Sham Fight, when 4,000 members of the Royal Black Institution and 90 bands will be on parade through the village.
The organisers of the Sham Fight are RBP 1000, who are based in Scarva and their Worshipful Master is Sandy Heak who commented:“Our aim is simple. We want to give the 100,000 people a memorable day out for all the family. There is pageantry, history, music and of course a strong Christian ethos which is at the heart of the Royal Black Institution.”
The Sovereign Grand Master of the Institution, Millar Farr, said the Sham Fight was developing into a ‘must see’ event.
“There is something magical about the Sham Fight,” he said. “I would urge people who have not come to see it, to make a date in their diary. “
In the past decade, the Royal Black Institution has raised £500,000 for a range of charities. Macmillan Cancer Support is the designated charity this year and a team of collectors will be at the Sham Fight. All proceeds raised on the day will go to the institution’s appeal fund.
Mr Farr added: “Our members have a strong track record in raising money for a range of charities. In fact we have raised over half a million pounds in the last decade. So we are hopeful that Macmillan Cancer will benefit from the efforts of our members and supporters.”
The armies of King William and King James will have new uniforms at this year’s Sham Fight in Scarva.
About 24 re-enactors take part in the pageant and they will be wearing new uniforms, tunics that will give them an even more authentic look from the period of the Williamite Wars.
King William (John Adair) is looking forward to the event, on what will be his 25th appearance as the King.
“It has been a great honour to play King William all those years,” he said. “There is a terrific response from the public, when we arrive at the battlefield on horseback.
The procession begins on the Banbridge Road in Scarva at 11.15am. The procession moves to the Demense where the Sham Fight takes place around 1.00pm and then the platform proceedings are held at 2.15pm.
The chairman of the platform proceedings will be David Livingstone, Imperial Grand Treasurer. The worship will be led by Rev. John Batchelor, Imperial Deputy Grand Chaplain, and the preacher will be Stephen Kennedy, Newry district. The resolutions will be read by Robin Diffin, Armagh. They will be proposed by Millar Farr, the Sovereign Grand Master and seconded by William Scott, Imperial grand Registrar.
Hamiltonsbawn Silver Band will lead the praise.