BUSINESSES in Glasgow’s George Square have already been affected by Saturday’s Orange Order organised festival.

One restaurateur, who didn’t want his business named for fear of repercussions, told The National that all but one of his bookings for Saturday had cancelled in the past 24 hours.

All of the businesses The National spoke to yesterday said that the first they knew about Orangefest taking place on Saturday was through media reports and social media in the last two days.

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Saturday’s “heritage” day event is expected to attract more than 2,000 supporters of the Orange Order from all over Scotland to Glasgow’s city centre.

The restaurateur who spoke to the National said that he had experiences with Orange walks and parades in another one of his restaurants.

“They come in, they’re drunk,” he said. “In the other restaurant they would come in and use the toilet. Twice we had to call the police because there were fights. After that we just closed on the days they were going to be near us. We should maybe just close this Saturday. Nobody’s going to come to town if they know this is happening.” Waxy O’Connors, the Irish Bar just off George Square said that they didn’t expect to be busy, but that they would be asking their door staff to start six hours earlier than normal. The Camperdown Bar underneath Glasgow Queen Street Station would also have door stewards start at the same time as the bar opened.

The manager said: “You never know what’s going to happen. Hopefully it’ll be a pain free day with no trouble at all, or it could be carnage.” A number of the chain restaurants around the square, Pizza Express, Browns, the Millennium Hotel, directed The National to their head office for comment, although many admitted privately that they were preparing for Saturday to be a challenging day.

The Wee Guys cafe off George Square were also worried about Orangefest putting off regulars, but would be opening and operating as normal.

Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said that they were aware of the event but, so far, none of his members had “raised the issue”.

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said the businesses around George Square were not notified about Orangefest as the event would be self contained.

“The organiser announced the event last year and, since then, has followed the statutory processes required by Scottish Government legislation in terms of obtaining a licence and providing details of the public procession,” the spokesperson said. “There are no traffic orders in place for the event, so no changes to access or travel for neighbours.”

Saturday’s event, which runs between 9.30am and 4pm, will be opened with a banging of the lambeg drums, and will be followed by a mixture of accordion bands, choirs and speakers addressing the crowd.

A “banner parade” will arrive in the square at 3.45pm before a Last Night Of The Proms style finale. At the same time as the main event, there will be stalls, a lecture marquee, and face painting and bouncy castles for children.

Edward Hyde, Grand Master of the County Grand Orange Lodge Of Glasgow, said that Catholics and representatives of other religions had been invited to the event to help “break down some divides”.

Hyde told the Glasgow Evening Times that two women representatives from the Catholic Church would be attending, plus an Irish consulate and a representative from the Muslim Council for Scotland.