Orangefest, on behalf of the County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast, and Belfast City Centre Management have been working on the initiative for over three years in partnership with the City Council, transport authorities, the police and other stakeholders.
The shops will open around 12.30 when the Orange parade has passed through the city centre and is on its way to the demonstration field at Barnett’s Demesne, near Shaw’s Bridge. They will close around 4.30pm, or one hour before the parade makes its return journey.
Councillor William Humphrey, Deputy Chairman of Orangefest, said:
“The Twelfth is now a major tourist attraction in the Northern Ireland calendar. We know that as well as local people, there are many others who time their visits to the province to co-incide with the celebrations.
“The County Grand Lodge of Belfast through Orangefest have been extremely successful in enhancing the family friendly atmosphere of the Twelfth following the darks days of the Troubles. The colour, pageantry and music of the Twelfth in Belfast is enjoyed by tens of thousands of people, who after watching the event can enjoy aa meal in a city centre restaurant or do a bit of shopping.
“Last year in conjunction with the police and Council officials, there was a clampdown on street drinking and with the full support of the County Grand Lodge a similar initiative will be mounted this year.”
The Chairman of Orangfest, George Chittick said:
“We will be working closely with all agencies to ensure the Belfast Twelfth is a very special and enjoyable day for everyone.”