Shortened Tweedbank Fair is bigger and better

Published: 11 Jun 2012 09:300 comments

TWEEDBANK Fair Week may have been shorter than usual this year. But, according to the organisers, it was bigger and better than ever before.

The Tweedbank Lad and Lass are pictured with the Braw Lad and Lass, Ryan Mania and Nicola Mackay, from neighbouring Galashiels following their Investiture.

The Tweedbank Lad and Lass are pictured with the Braw Lad and Lass, Ryan Mania and Nicola Mackay, from neighbouring Galashiels following their Investiture.

Twelve-year-old Reece Smith and 11-year-old Alex Bell led this year's festivities which culminated with the Fruit and Flower Grand Parade on Saturday.

They were paraded through the village on a horse drawn carriage, led by Melrose and District Pipes and Drums, as crowds of well-wishers lined the streets to show their support.

The Tweedbank Lad and Lass were supported by their Attendants - Ciaran McLaren (Lad's First Attendant), Jordan Turnball (Lad's Second Attendant), Jayden McAllan (Lass's First Attendant) and Maisie Kidd (Lass's Second Attendant).

Donald Forbes, chairman of the Tweedbank Fair organising committee, told the Border Telegraph: "The turnout has been fantastic.

"I think shortening the week from eight days to five this year has encouraged people to come out every night because the events were better supported than they were last year.

"In the past I think it was getting to the stage where we were asking them to come out eight nights in a row and to be honest it was just too much."

The week began on Tuesday night with the Investiture Evening in the Community Centre when the Tweedbank Principals exchanged colours with the Braw Lad and Lass, Ryan Mania and Nicola Mackay, from neighbouring Galashiels.

That was followed by the fancy dress parade the following night which, despite the rain, remains one of the highlights of the Fair. The week ended with a fete and fun day at the primary school on Saturday.

Donald said: "We've been unlucky with the weather this year. It couldn't have rained any harder than it did for the fancy dress parade on Wednesday night. But, having said that, we've looked back and apparently the last time we had to move the judging inside because of the rain was 2004, so if we're only going to get the rain once every eight years we can't really complain.

"The highlight for me is always the fancy dress, the amount of work that goes into some of these costumes is unbelieveable. I know that the parents use Tweedbank fancy dress now as a kind of tester for events in Melrose, Earlston and Gala.

"And I'd like to thank Galashiels Ex-Serviceman's Pipe Band for coming out on such a night and getting absolutely soaked."

Donald went on to praise this year's Principals for the way in which they have represented Tweedbank and admitted they had done the village proud. And he appealed for more volunteers to help at next year's Fair.

Donald, who is due to retire from the committee after serving 20 years next year, said: "All six of them have been brilliant. Now the primary sevens know what's coming as they come up through the school, they seem to grow into it every year."

And he added: "What we are doing now is asking for more volunteers to come forward to help out next year."

Anyone interested in finding out more is invited to a meeting at Herges on the Loch on Wednesday, June 20, at 7pm.

The fruit and flowers donated to the parade on Saturday were distributed among residents at Craw Wood nursing home in Tweedbank and Waverley Home in Galashiels.

Looking back at the Fair week, Reece said: "I was kind of nervous beforehand." But he added: "It was actually quite fun."

For more photographs from Tweedbank Fair week, find us on Facebook.

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