As Bairns (Children) how we looked forward to it, New Rubbers (Gym shoes), The Races and the Shows (Fairground). It ranked up there with Christmas and Birthdays.
In the days before Computers & Playstation’s and when TV was in its infancy, it was one of the events of the year.
It would start on the Friday with the perambulation of the “Burry Man” I remember helping when Kitter Magan was Burry Man and Watte Quigley & Jackie Hart were his helpers. For years after that the Reid family organised the Burry Man Walk and indeed Colin Reid still assists to this day.
On the Friday would also be the Boundary Race for local men, No fancy Nike Trainers or tracksuits in these days, it was jackets off shirt sleeves rolled up and off you went.
Names like Tam McLaren, Tam Cooper, and Johnny Walker come to mind and in the later years Rob Robertson, Norman Weir, J Smith and R Hurley. After the Boundary Race it was the Greasy Pole at the back of Craws Close where Hill Court Flats now stand. Auld Worthies would climb the pole, Kate McKay, Tober Smith, P Marshall, Sam Corson are just some of the names then again in the Treacle scone Race which Kate again would enter along with Killiecrankie the Town Crier. Incidentally Kate was still entering the Greasy Pole well into her 80’s.
The Big Day! All the Bairns would meet at McIver`s brae and Parade along the street behind The Queen & her retinue.
The Crowning was held at the Fountain next to the Town Hall and after the ceremony the Queen along with the Burgh Councillors would retire to wemys’s (Queensferry Arms) for lunch.
Killicrankie would then call the Burgh Races, Firstly for the men from Bellstane to the Sealscraig and back. I remember names like Peter Scott and a fair sprinkle of O’Donnell’s and Kennies ect. Then the Ladies Race from the Bellstane to the old Post Office and back. (No Cobbles to slip on in theses days). Everybody would then Parade up to the Burgess park, where the Bairns got their bags usually a pie, an apple and orange juice.
Children’s Race followed, and then a Glorious time was had on Codonas shows which were also in the park. On a wet day you’d be up to your knees in Glaur (MUD).
The Fair has changed in recent years with all the events in the High Street and the Shows at the Hawes. The greasy pole has been replaced with the Bellstane Walk a popular event where two 80LB weights are carried along the High Street.
Basically the Fair still remains an attraction particularly for auld Ferry families. A walk along the High Street on the Saturday will renew friendships with old friends and schoolmates from all around the UK as well as abroad particularly Canada and the USA.
The Fair need your support in way of volunteers as well as monetary donations. Let’s Keep it Going!
Vice Chairman Ferry Fair Committee 2005