Yorkshire Day Civic Celebration

The Yorkshire Society is on a mission to make Yorkshire Day a day to remember. A day when the whole county celebrates and shows the world how proud we are to be Yorkshire.

We organise the centrepiece - the official Yorkshire Day Civic Celebration - when all civic leaders, special guests, members of the Society and VIPs are invited to gather in chosen town or city to mark the day.

It's certainly the largest such gathering in the UK, and one of the largest in the world!


Yorkshire Day is celebrated on 1st August. The date alludes to the Battle of Minden which was already celebrated by the Light Infantry, successors to the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, as Minden Day when, together with five other infantry regiments of the British Army, a rose is permitted to be worn in the headdress. In the case of the Light Infantry, the rose is white of course.

The date is also the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire in 1834, for which a Yorkshire MP, William Wilberforce, campaigned.


Yorkshire Day was established relatively recently in 1975. The nature of the county and its people meant it was quickly adopted and it has grown in significance year on year.

The decision to mark Yorkshire Day with an annual civic gathering of Mayors, Lord Mayors, their attendants and other dignitaries ‘in full costume and regalia’ was taken at a meeting of Local Authorities within the boundary of the old county of Yorkshire i.e. the three ridings and York and The Yorkshire Society at County Hall, Wakefield, on 29 June 1985.

The Yorkshire Society was then charged with guardianship of the idea and organising the annual event, which now forms the centrepiece and focal point for the celebrations undertaken across the whole county.

The ‘Official Yorkshire Day Civic Celebration’ now adds pomp and circumstance to a day of pride for a county which is like a nation within a nation: having its own flag, its own language, own anthem (almost) and its own culture. It is undoubtedly the biggest gathering of ‘first citizens’ and civic leaders in the UK and probably one of the biggest in the world.

The first Yorkshire Day Civic Celebration in 1985 was held in York. Since then the council and Mayor of different towns and cities have had the honour of hosting it. Year on year it has evolved into an established format comprising breakfast reception and robing, thanks-giving service, street parade of all the dignitaries and guests and a formal lunch to finish.

From 2018, when The Yorkshire Society itself began a modernisation, the event has evolved further with the last two hosts, Ripon City Council and Whitby Town Council, expanding it into the community and encouraging the participation of the general public with additional themed events. As such, the Official Yorkshire Day Civic Celebration is now a catalyst for the host town or city, providing an opportunity to focus the attention of Yorkshire (and beyond) onto it and its activities, and to connect it with its citizens.

The host town or city has the honour and prestige of being the official Yorkshire Day town or city for a full calendar year. This is marked with the handing over of the Yorkshire Day flag from council to council on the day, each council adding its coat of arms to the flag to record their year.

City of York Council will be the host of our Official Yorkshire Day Civic Celebration in 2021. For further enquiries or information about how you can get involved, please write to contact@theyorkshiresociety.org with ‘Yorkshire Day’ in the subject line.


1985    York                    2002    Filey

1986    Ripon                 2003    Halifax

1987    Wakefield          2004    Leeds

1988    Wakefield          2005    Bradford

1989    Whitby               2006    Penistone

1990    Skipton              2007    Hull

1991    Rotherham        2008    Guisborough

1992    Richmond         2009    Malton

1993    Leeds                 2010    Hedon

1994    Doncaster         2011    Wakefield

1995    Barnsley            2012    Scarborough

1996    Todmorden      2013    Skipton

1997    Bradford           2014    South Kirkby

1998    Huddersfield   2015    Doncaster

1999    Hull                   2016    Halifax

2000    York                 2017    Sheffield

2001    Wakefield        2018    Ripon

2019    Whitby


The 2020 official civic celebration was to be hosted by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this has been cancelled. An online event will be organised instead.

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council's civic celebration will take place in a future year to be decided.


RIPON 2018