THOUSANDS are expected to pack into the Galpharm Stadium for Sunday’s spectacular Kirklees Youth Games.
And it means the event, a two-hour curtain-raiser for the Huddersfield Giants versus Bradford Bulls Super League game, could boost the crowd for the match to possible record-breaking levels.
The spectacle, featuring about 2,500 children from across the district and from as far afield as Poland, France Germany, and China, is expected to attract an audience in its own right topping 7,500.
Several thousand more rugby fans will then turn up for the big game, pushing the crowd close to the best-ever gate of 15,629, against Leeds Rhinos.
Among the VIPs at the event will be sporting legends boxer Prince Rodney, Olympic athletics medal winner Derek Ibbotson, and former Huddersfield Town footballer and 1996 England World Cup winner Ray Wilson.
The Youth Games is the climax of two years of activities, competition and projects involving schools and thousands of young people from all parts of Kirklees.
Clr Jim Dodds, Kirklees Council deputy leader and Cabinet member for children and young people, said: “This being the year of the Beijing Olympics, Kirklees Council is marking the success of its youth games initiative with this massive celebration event.
“Support for the initiative over the last two years has been way beyond my expectations, as is the anticipated support on Sunday.
“As well as enjoying the Youth Games programme the children taking part and the audience will also be able to enjoy the excitement of the Super League game between the West Yorkshire rivals of Huddersfield Giants and Bradford Bulls, swelling the crowd by as many as an extra 10,000 people.
“We must surely be on track to having a huge record breaking attendance for this exciting and exhilarating afternoon of sport and entertainment.
“The atmosphere will be terrific and I hope that people will give it their support and help make it a memorable occasion in this spectacular setting of the award-winning Galpharm Stadium.”
The celebration, involving thousands of children in its preparation, incorporates music as well as sporting activities.
A specially-composed fanfare and anthem called Seize the Day have been composed and recorded for the Kirklees Youth Games.
There will be dance and cheerleading as well as sports demonstrations and competition.
There will be a fireworks spectacle, and the finale welcoming the two professional rugby teams will be a ‘Yorkshire’ haka performed by hundreds of children.