More than two decades after the last pit closed in the Durham coalfield the Miners Gala or the Big Meeting as it is known locally remains as popular as ever with over 150,000 expected to attend this year for the 132nd gala. The gala forms part of the culture and heritage of the area and represents the communal values of the North East of England. The gala sees traditional colliery bands march through the city ahead of their respective pit banners and pass the County Hotel building where union leaders, invited guests and dignitaries gather on the balcony before then heading to the racecourse area for a day of entertainment and political speeches. Beginning in 1871 the gala is now the biggest trade union event in Europe and many thousands of people continue to attend each year.
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