All the fun of the fair

Queen Victoria and her assistant dropped in on St Ternan's Fair.
Queen Victoria and her assistant dropped in on St Ternan's Fair.

The jubilee weekend began early in Banchory when members of the Banchory Blethers got together in the museum to hold an indoor street party with the help of library staff.

On May 28, the museum club and heritage society members helped to decorate the museum with flags and bunting. Lots of sandwiches, nibbles, cake and trifle were in evidence and there was a diamond jubilee quiz to work on.

The St Ternan’s Fair proper started on Saturday, June 2, and was centred in Scott Skinner Square and the library and museum building. The theme was ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ and the library staff were the Upstairs family, while the museum downstairs represented the servants’ quarters with the cook, a head housemaid, laundry maid, under gardener and molecatcher all under the control of the housekeeper, Mrs Davidson.

Upstairs, the family had a nursery where the nursery maids were played by the Rhynie Wifies.

Queen Victoria paid a visit to the house before leaving for Balmoral and was entertained by the Banchory Singers, Third Stage Choir and several young buskers.

On the Sunday, the action moved to Bellfield Park. The fair was opened by Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Rita MacLean, who had opened the first St Ternan Fair for the Golden Jubilee in 2002.

As the British Legion Parade had been rescheduled to start Monday evening’s programme, the Guarana Street Drummers began their march into the arena and gave a great drumming demonstration before moving over to their tent to start their workshops. Still on music, the fair hosted musicians and singers from the Traditional Music and Song Association (TMSA), who gave demonstrations on clarsach, guitar and moothie, before running a very popular singing workshop.

There were five heats run in the North of Scotland Ferret Racing Championship, which was won by the aptly-named Balmoral-born ferret, Duchess, owned by Grace Meikle.

The companion dog show proved yet again to be a big hit with the crowd, as did the Aberdeen Bengali Cultural Association, who enjoyed showing traditional dances at last year’s fair so much, they returned to demonstrate traditional recipes.

Younger visitors were kept busy in the cage football arena and chainsaw artist Carol Adams produced another work of art in front of the watching crowd.

Local charities, businesses and craftworkers had stalls, which added to the colour and vibrancy of the day.

The crowd’s good mood was in evidence when the young people from Messy Church brought along a huge replica of St Ternan’s bell they had made, paraded it around the field and were cheered and applauded all the way. They reached the Praise in the Park tent, where the Granite City Band, with the help of the Rev Lisa Eunson and Bob Kelly, led the crowd in a good hour of hymn singing, to bring St Ternan’s Fair day to a close.

All these activities were supported by delicious food provided by the Christian Aid Group and the reassuring presence of the British Red Cross volunteers.

The field was then cleared ready for the final event in the St Ternan Fair jubilee weekend, the beacon lighting on Monday evening.