The 2012 Portchester Gala was a roaring success yet again!

Over four thousand people watched the parade and attended the day at Portchester Castle.

The day began with the procession leaving the Community Centre to travel through the village.  Thousands lined the streets to watch the colourful and vibrant floats go past.  The Mayor Dennis Steadman and Mayoress Carole Steadman judged the parade in three categories this year.

Firstly, there was the Pre-school category.  Andy Pandy Pre-school came first with their delightful jubilee-inspired float.  In second place was Portchester Community School who all dressed up in costumes related to nursery rhymes.  Third place went to the Port Solent Day Nursery who carried a large banner promoting their nursery school.

This year, some schools were unable to enter so instead of having a schools category with a separate category for other entries, we had a ‘young people’ category including groups such as Westlands Youth Club and 3rdPortchester Scouts.  In this category, first place went to Castle Primary School with their Ancient Greek Olympics float.  They were all dressed for the part in togas and sandals.  Portchester Horse and Pony Association came second with their “bomb-proof” ponies ridden by young members of the association dressed as knights and princesses.  Third place went to Southern Starlights, a majorette group that danced the whole way through the parade.  They were resplendent in their blue and silver uniforms.

Our final category was for adult entries, and this year, the choice was impressive!  The category included the wonderful Fareham Heathens Rugby Club float, and the loud and joyous Good Road Singers.  First place went to the sparkly and bright Aziza Belly Dancers who shimmied and shook the whole way along the parade.  Second place went to Stella Bell who dressed up as Andy Pandy and pushed her decorated shopping trolley down the route.  The Motorbikes and Trikes came in third.  The riders were cheerful and engaged with the spectators as they rode at the back of the parade.

At the Castle, the Gala day was extraordinary.  There were lots of different stalls and sideshows for people to enjoy, games to play, and speciality foods to try such as Spanish churros with chocolate and Bangkok Thai noodles.

In the arena, there were performances from The Hampshire Caledonian Pipe Band, Aziza Belly Dancers, Southern Starlights and the Good Road Singers.  There was also a tug of war.  The teams were the bikers, police and army cadets versus the Fareham Heathens Rugby Club.  The first round was quickly won by the rugby men, but round two, the mixed team put up a good fight and came very close to winning.  The Heathens just managed to claw back the rope by a tight margin, therefore winning the prize of a crate of lager.  Young people then had a turn with the rope just for the fun of it, and the two teams played well.

At the end of the day, the gala raffle was called and the thank yous were read out.  Everyone left with a smile on their face.  It had been a lovely day for all involved, public, volunteers and stall holders alike.

We do not know if it will be the Community Association that runs the 2013 gala, but we hope it will be as magnificent as it was this year.

We would like to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers and staff that helped with running the gala, the Mayor Dennis Steadman and Mayoress Carole Steadman, our photographer Karl Watts, our sponsors HA & DB Kitchin, and our programme sponsors The Wicor Mill Pub.  Most importantly, we would like to thank the community for getting into the spirit of the gala and making it so fantastic for everyone.