ROMANS will be marching in Malton for the first time in 1,600 years this May bank holiday.

Legionaries, gladiators and auxiliary soldiers will be battling with Celtic warriors, parading Roman fashion and crafting their wares in a two-day festival.

Graham Harris, the day’s organiser for the Malton events committee, said: “The excitement is definitely mounting around town as so many are involved.

“It will be a tremendously exciting day out for all the family as we will be seeing British warriors, Roman legionaries, auxiliary soldiers, weapons and armoury all in this first-ever festival.”

Mr Harris has carried out extensive research into the Roman’s time in Malton and the living history group, Vicus, are recreating their movements on the old Fort site, Derventio.

On both days, there will be a historical tour of the site and a children’s activity tent, with a parade kick starting the day.

Young Romans can enter a competition that will see a “Miss Derventio” crowned and carried ceremoniously about the town.

A Bronze Age hunter-gather camp will be recreated and demonstrations of archery, Roman cookery, and hair-styling will run throughout the day.

To round off the event a staged battle will commence between the invading 9th Legion and the warring Britons.

The origins of these celebrations are thought to stem from the Roman flower goddess, Flora, being held in the time half way between the spring equinox and the summer solstice.

This is the first time the town have held a Roman Festival, with shops and eateries around the town opening in full support of the event.

The festival takes place on May 2 to May 3 from 10.30am to 6pm, meeting at the market place. Entry to the festival is £5 for adults and £3 for students and concessions. Children under 16 years go free.