THE first gala of the summer season kicks off next weekend when the folk of Longside gather for a long weekend of fun and games for all the family.
The fun starts on Thursday, May 19, with a duck race at Cairngall Burn. The only entry to the race is opposite the school and the race begins at 6.30pm. Numbers are available from Londis Shop on Main Street, Longside.
Also on Thursday there is a concert in the tent by The Garioch Blend with Eddie Rose and Robert Lovie.
The event runs from 7pm to 10pm and tickets are priced at £6, which includes a raffle, tea or coffee and biscuits. Tickets for the concert can be obtained from the Longside Shop or from Longside Football Club.
Friday, May 20, sees family games in the football field from 6pm to 7.30pm, promising something the whole family can join in and enjoy. This will be followed by a new addition to the programme, a family race night at 8pm which will also feature a barbecue.
Saturday, May 21, sees the arrival of the gala princesses at Davidson Park at 12.45pm. This year’s parade will be led by the Guarana Drummers and Anne Buchan Majorettes.
The official opening of the gala will be conducted by John Imlah, head teacher of Longside Primary, who will also crown the princesses.
Then a packed programme of fun follows beginning with five-a-side football, which will run throughout the afternoon, a Tae Kwon Do demonstration at 1.15pm and a performance on stage by the Caroline McGruther Highland Dancers.
The Topaz Belly Dancers will be strutting their stuff at 1.20pm and 2.45pm, while at 1.30pm you can either choose to watch netball in the field or the pets parade in the arena.
A fancy dress parade will take place in the arena at 2pm, while also at 2pm, and again at 3pm, there will be a performance from Skip 2 The Beat on the stage.
The fitter folk will be heading off at 2.30pm for either a 5k or 10k race along the Buchan walkway, while the youngsters can enjoy some fun at a special teddy bears’ picnic at 3pm.
The Guarana Drummers will be performing at 2.20pm and again at 3.30pm, while the prizegiving and raffle prizes will be handed out at 3.30pm.
The afternoon will also feature vintage tractors and cars and performances from pupils of the Anne Buchan School of Dancing.
You can also test your skill on a JCB digger in aid of the British Heart Foundation, or experience the thrill of a lifetime by having a go on the F1 simulator. Those going along should note that all times are subject to change.
On Saturday evening the fun continues with a marquee dance from 8.30pm to 12.30am dancing to Burlesque along with a disco. Tickets are priced at £10 and are available only from Longside Football Club and the Londis shop.
The event is fully licensed and there will also be a barbecue and raffles on the night.
The gala comes to its conclusion on Sunday, May 22, beginning with a church service in the marquee from 10.30am to 11.30am.
At 1pm there is a beat the goalie competition and pre-school five-a-side football, while family games will be held in the field throughout the afternoon.
A magician will take to the stage at 2pm and then will be in the field at 2.45pm, while Longside’s Got Talent will kick-off at 2.30pm in the tent until 3.45pm.
The raffle draw and prizegiving will take place at 3pm, and again you can test your skill on the JCB digger in aid of charity. A static car show (show and shine), sponsored by Duthie Motors, Longside, will also be held throughout the afternoon and will feature a selection of the latest model cars and 4x4s from several local dealers. Entry time is 12 noon and all are welcome.
Organisers of this year’s gala are keen to point out that due to changes in licensing regulations the gala will follow a different format this year.
Gala committee member Norman Smith told the Buchanie: “The concert will go ahead as usual on Thursday. On Friday night a family race night will be held in the marquee. This will be a licensed event and the Saturday night marquee will be for over 18s only as we are endeavouring to bring back a more ‘village orientated atmosphere’.
“All other events will be as usual. There will be a modest entry fee at the gate in order to try and sustain the viability of the gala,” he said.
Mr Smith emphasised that all tickets purchased for the Saturday night dance must be bought by patrons over the age of 18 as ID will be required prior to entry. There will be no refunds to anyone refused entry.