This year’s Ballater Victoria Week has been hailed a stunning success. Organisers are delighted that so many people turned out to support so many events, both new and old, for the week-long village festival of fun activities.
Publicity organiser Cat Houston said: “We could not be more pleased with how it went and it was well worth all the hard work put in. The response from businesses, organisations, locals and visitors has been just tremendous. We’ve had emails from people saying they plan to book flights up to coincide with VW next year! All the new events were very well received and attended. Even the weather on Sunday did not rain on the parade as we had a terrific turnout for that and the fayre in the park, raising almost as much cash from the collecting tins and stalls as last year.
“All the Victoria Week favourites fared well too, with most ticketed events selling out fast or on the night, and the car boot sale on Saturday 13 saw the green just heaving with folk looking for bargains. Organisers, The Ballater Angling Association raised almost £1,200.”
Of the many highlights of the week, the pet show stands out as a particular success. Dozens of pet owners turned out with an array of menageries in the hope of winning a rosette. Alistair Cassie admirably filled the role of compere and Morven Vet’s Neil Crossling tackled the very hard job of judging the entrants with aplomb.
Among the children’s events, the potted sports were a smash hit, as was a showing of the film Gnomeo and Juliet. Some brave souls were seen battling the elements on the putting green on Wednesday, while a Tuesday picnic on the green attracted lots of families to try out some Victorian games. Messy play, storytelling and a range of ranger events were as popular as ever. The new discos, for two age groups, simply rocked.
An evening of clairvoyance and a Scottish evening saw the Albert and Victoria Halls respectively filled to capacity. The ghost tours were nearly sold out before the box office opened, while the many musical events held in the evenings were all well attended.
Ballater Victoria Week treasurer Ian Wisely is busy counting up all the proceeds from ticket sales, brochure sales and collecting tins shaken by Mini (and major) Marshalls, and the results of that will be published soon. One of the first groups to benefit will be Ballater School’s running club, the Mudblasters, after VW stepped forward and offered to sponsor their running vests. By far the biggest talking point across the village has been the scarecrow competition. As well as the 35 official entries, many more were seen sprouting up around the village, all adding to the atmosphere of this fun new event. Nearly 250 trail maps were bought from the box office too, so plenty of people took advantage of the opportunity to view them all in situ, on foot, bike or car. Now the question on everybody’s lips is: who are the winners?! You will have to wait until Ballater Royal Horticultural Society’s Show this Sunday in the Victoria Halls at approx 3pm when the results will be announced and some of the most popular ones will be on display.
The biggest disappointment of the week was not being able to run the duck race, on two successive Sundays, as the River Dee was just too high to allow the duck catchers to do their job safely. But in each case a fun game on the village green for children was devised in which the winning numbers could be drawn. The £100 prizes have been claimed but there are still prizes outstanding for tickets 138 and 115. Tickets bought for Sunday 7 and 14 are valid for either of these numbers, so make sure you check yours. The winning numbers and other competition winners can also be found online at www.ballatervictoriaweek.co.uk, along with lots of photos from various events.
Day events coordinator Adrian Scripps added: “We owe a great deal of thanks to the scores of people who have helped us out this year and during the week itself. We hope to get round to them all individually in the coming weeks but you know who you are! Victoria Week simply would not happen without the generous support of local people giving their talents, time and experience to the events.”