A new festival, celebrating St Albans’ Roman heritage, will take place in the city from Friday, June 21, to Sunday, June 30.

Organised by St Albans Cathedral and funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the 10 day festival will feature events for the whole family – providing the opportunity to celebrate the city in which Britain’s first saint, Alban, lived.

The Roman Festival kicks off with two events on Wednesday, June 22. The Alban Pilgrimage, a magnificent procession organised by St Albans Cathedral to celebrate the city’s namesake, takes place from 11am. Accompanied by people of all ages dressed as Roman soldiers, lions, angels and more, 12ft tall carnival puppets representing the key figures from the story of Alban will take to the streets to re-enact the historic events which led to his execution.

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From 12pm, Alban Fest will take place on the Abbey Orchard in Verulamium Park – an afternoon of Roman-themed fun. Live Roman military battles by the Ermine Street Guard, medieval pilgrim badge demonstrations, clay sculpting and music from the Maida Vales are just some of the special activities taking place. There will also be festival glitter and face painting and plenty of other crafts, games, food and music to keep all ages entertained.

Local businesses and venues are also involved in the Roman Festival, making it a community, city-wide event, including the Alban Street Festival, St Albans Film Festival, St Albans Folk Festival, St Albans Museums, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, the Roman Theatre of Verulamium, the Clock Tower and the Odyssey Cinema. Activities include Roman-themed film screenings and performances, food fit for a Roman army, fascinating talks and tours about St Albans’ Roman past, and Toga Yoga in the Abbey Orchard.

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The Dean of St Albans said: “The city of St Albans is steeped in over 1,700 years of heritage, which includes the story of its namesake, Alban, a citizen of Roman Verulamium and Britain’s first saint. We are looking forward to welcoming people to celebrate our remarkable history.”

Katie Foweraker, Community Engagement Officer at St Albans City and District Council, said: “We are really pleased to be working closely with the cathedral on this year’s expanded Alban Festival. Our Alban Street Festival on the Sunday is part of it, with a large Roman-themed area this year, including an authentic Roman market and Roman mosaic and pottery workshops. The Alban Weekend is always extremely popular with thousands of local people and visitors coming into the city to be part of it all. It’s a real highlight in the St Albans summer calendar, and not to be missed.”

Matt Bigg, organiser of the St Albans Film Festival, said: “We are really excited to be partnering with St Albans Cathedral’s Roman Festival and screening Gladiator on the Big Screen. The festival will be a wonderful opportunity to bring the city of St Albans together to celebrate its heritage.”

For more information and the full programme of events, visit www.stalbanscathedral.org