Royal Burgh prepares for its annual Ferry Fair Festival

A scene from last year's Ferry Fair crowning ceremony
A scene from last year's Ferry Fair crowning ceremony

All roads lead to South Queensferry next week when the Royal Burgh celebrates its annual Ferry Fair Festival.

What with weekly cruise liner visits and people travelling to view the new Queensferry Crossing, the ’Ferry is never a quiet place throughout the summer, especially at weekends.

But next weekend is the time when the local community converges on the town’s historic High Street to take in ‘their’ event, the 81st Ferry Fair Festival.

This year the queen-elect is ten-year-old Echline Primary School pupil Niamh Jack and she will be crowned by this year’s Gracious Lady Joyce Faulkner – but more about the two leading characters later.

The annual festivities kick off with an ecumenical outdoor service this Sunday at 3pm at the Rosebery Hall Gardens, involving congregations of the four local churches.

Monday and Tuesday, August 7 and 8, the focus turns to the town’s Burgess Park, where the junior and youth five-a-side football tournament trophies are fervently competed for.

On the Wednesday, it’s a family fun night with the adult five-a-side football final taking place at the Queensferry Sports and Community Hub.

Thursday sees the return to the Burgess Park for the numerous race events for all ages.

As always on the eve of Ferry Fair – Friday, August 12 – the Burry Man returns to take part on his perambulation of the town, departing the Staghead Hotel around 8.45am.

From 6.30pm onwards, there is a variety of entertainment on offer as the High Street, lined with spectators, witness the fancy dress competition, the boundary race, the wheelbarrow race, returning for the first time in many a year, and the Bellstane Walk are competed for.

Saturday, August 12 – the town’s big day – kicks off with the judging of decorated gardens, arches and floats, followed by the queen-elect’s tour of the Royal Burgh at while the procession heads off from Burgess Road at 11.15am.

As spectators gain vantage points ahead of the arrival of the High Street procession, the Queensferry Community Brass Band will aim to keep the awaiting crowd entertained.

After the procession has passed along the narrow High Street, the much-anticipated crowning ceremony will take centre-stage around midday.

There will musical entertainment on the stage from the band ‘Foxx’ while performances by the Dalkeith and Glencorse Pipe Bands, Whitburn Brass Band, the ForthBridges Accordion Band, Edinburgh Samba Band and ceilidh band ‘Jacobites’ will be staged throughout the afternoon.

Another attraction on the day will be from members of the the Delting Jarl Squad, bringing Shetland’s ‘Up Helly Aa’ to Queensferry.

Looking forward to her big day on August 12, is Ferry Fair queen-elect Niamh Jack, who has been a posy girl in the past, she said: ‘‘I am really looking forward to the crowning ceremony and beyond as I carry out my duties throughout the remainder of the year.’’

Crowning young Niamh is Joyce Faulkner, who has been involved with many community groups over the years, including CleanFerry, Vision for Queensferry and GreenFerry.

She said: ‘‘Queensferry has given me many good memories, I am thrilled to able to add the role of Gracious Lady to that list.’’

Each year the Ferry Fair costs in the region of £25,000 to stage and as with all community events such as the Bo’ness Fair and the Linlithgow and Linlithgow Bridge Gala Day, to raise such amounts requires a huge amount of fundraising.

But each year come August, the funds are realised with Ferry Fair chairman David Steel saying: ‘‘The Ferry Fair depends on the local businesses and the local community for it to continue. This year’s support has been fantastic and very much appreciated, I am grateful to one and all.

‘‘Everything is in place, the volunteers are organised, the flags go up this weekend all we need now is for the weather to be settled.’’

Ferry Fair timetable

Sunday, August 6: Outdoor ecumenical service, Rosebery Hall Garden, 3pm;

Monday, August 7: Junior 
five-a-side football, Burgess Park, 6pm;

Tuesday, August 8: Youths 
five-a-side tournament, Burgess Park, 6pm;

Wednesday, August 9: Family fun night, arts and crafts fair, from 6pm, adult five-a-side 
football final at 7.30pm, 
Queensferry Sports and 
Community Hub;

Thursday, August 10: Children’s races, 7pm; Ladies and gent’s fun race, over 18s, 7.30pm; 
Girls’ half mile race, ages 12-15, 8pm; Boys’ half mile race, ages 12-15, 8.15pm; Tug o War final, 8.30pm. Entertainment throughout the evening.

Friday, August 11: The Burry Man, from 8.45am leaving the Staghead Hotel; 6.30pm Fancy dress competition, 6.30pm; Unclimbable Ladder, from 7pm; Boundary Race, 7pm; 
Wheelbarrow Race, 7.30pm; Bellstane Walk, 8pm, all on the High Street.

Saturday, August 12: Judging of arches and decorated gardens, 8am; Float judging, Burgess Road, 10.15am; Tour of the Burgh, 10.40am; Procession leaves Burgess Road, 11.15am; Crowning ceremony at midday approximately; ‘‘Foxx’’ on stage, from 2-3.45pm; Close of events, 4pm.
*The fairground attractions will be sited on the Hawes Promenade from Tuesday through to Sunday.