Celebrating the Diamond Jubilee Ballater-style

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People attending the Diamond Jubilee picnic in Ballater are being encouraged to pick up a form for Ballater Victoria Week’s scarecrow competition.

After a successful inaugural year last year, the scarecrow competition is back and people can pick up an entry form at the picnic on Monday (June 4).

For some time now, people in Ballater will have been aware of the creation of a Jubilee Cairn in the centre of the village, to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee.

A large block of Inver granite has been suitably inscribed, and is surrounded by around 60 other stones, collected from the hills in the vicinity of the village. Numerous heathers will also be planted to provide colour. The costs of this cairn have been covered by donations from local organisations and individuals keen to see Ballater acknowledge its royal connections. The principal movers behind the creation of this addition to the village scene have been Alistair Cassie and Gordon Bruce, who have worked very hard over several months to bring this cairn to fruition.

On Monday (June 4), Ballater will celebrate the Diamond Jubilee with a family picnic to be held on the Church Green in the centre of the village from noon, and there will be various activities taking place throughout the afternoon.

As a consequence of this, the main road through the village past the front of the church will be closed, with traffic in both directions being diverted via Victoria Road and Golf Road for most of the day. There will be parking restrictions all day on these roads and also in Church Square, to allow a smooth passage of local traffic. Notice of the closure will be displayed at each end of the Pass of Ballater (B972) with the intention of providing uninterrupted flow of through traffic by-passing the village while it celebrates.

Families are encouraged to take their Jubilee Picnic to the Green and celebrate this event together with family, friends and neighbours – a real community get together. There will be a prize of champagne and strawberries for the ‘Best Dressed Picnic’ and a parade of children from Ballater School following the Ballater and District Pipe Band through the village. The children who have made what are judged to be the best crowns for the occasion, will parade on board a 1903 vintage vehicle.

There will be various stalls, including a hog roast, a children’s funfair, and the Guarana Street Drummers from Aberdeen will give two displays, followed by a workshop for any budding street drummers of the future.

The Fiona Brandie Dancers will give a display of Highland dancing, and Ballater and District Pipe Band will also provide entertainment during the afternoon.

From 7pm until 11pm, there will be a family ceilidh in the Victoria Hall, with dancing to the music of Johnnie Duncan. For this event, people are encouraged to take their own nibbles and refreshments.

At the Jubilee picnic, Ballater Victoria Week will have a stall celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s 60 years on the throne (Queen Victoria being the only other British monarch to achieve this landmark) and it is from there that the BVW 2012 Scarecrow Competition will be launched.

Queen Victoria herself will be in attendance in scarecrow form, and she will be joined for the first time by her beloved Albert. There will be opportunities to play hook-a-duck, free traditional Victorian picnic games to try out and homebakes to buy. As well as scarecrow competition entry forms, the pet show category list for this year will also be revealed and there will be more information about what Ballater Victoria Week 2012 (which is the event’s silver jubilee year) will have in store.

Last year saw around 40 fantastic creations spring up around the village and the BVW committee hopes to double that this year as the village’s bird-scarers up their game. There are no rules and no themes, entry is free, and scarecrows just needs to be registered by entry form by Sunday, July 22, and displayed prominently during Victoria Week from Friday, August 3 (when the BVW box office opens) to Sunday, August 12. Scarecrow trail maps will be available from the box office for £2 and the route can be walked, cycled or driven, with the scarecrow hunters then voting for their favourites.

The winners will be revealed at the Ballater Royal Horticultural Society annual show on Sunday, August 19, when trophies will be presented and £50 cash given to the winning household entry. This year, the scarecrow competition is to be sponsored by 2STR8 Hair Design in Bridge Street, Ballater.

Forms will also be available from Bean For Coffee in Church Square or Rowan’s Jewellery in Victoria Road, and people can register online at www.ballatervictoriaweek.co.uk/scarecrows