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1980 – “Our Festal Day” John G Collee JP

“With a laugh loud and long, With a dance and a song, We hail our Festal Day.”

Since 1897 when our first Queen was crowned on that Festal Day, we have celebrated this event every year except during the World War periods, 1915-1918 and 1940-1945. Every year a Fair Queen has been elected except for 1921 and 1926 when unfortunately we had two industrial depressions. Let us hope that in years to come there will be no wars nor depressions to mar this day of days in the history of Bo’ness and District.

This great day when the Bo’ness Fair is annually held is a day of rejoicing both to young and old alike. It really is a day when everybody rejoices and when even the weather is – usually – on its best behaviour.

Time was when every boy and girl wore the colours of their school ( may it be pointed out that every cap cost at most one shilling! ) by the caps they wore, but that unfortunately has been done away with.

Strangers and old friends come from near and far to take part in these celebrations. Some folk firmly believe that the Fair is no longer the attraction it once was. Come to this year’s Fair and be your own judge. You will realise that this Day of Days is more pronounced now than ever it was in the past years and continues to attract more friends from all around and from very far afield.

Many of you gracing our day for the first time do not realise the enormous amount of preparation that has gone into producing this wonderful spectacle. It can honestly be said that you must have taken part in the Fair to realise the enormous preparations that have gone into the making of this wonderful scene.

The participants of the Festival as well as all the children taking part in any capacity have been drilled in their parts by their teachers until they know every step and action necessary to make this perfect picture.

The instructions may have become wearying by constant repetition, but today the result is, as you can see for yourselves, absolute perfection.

Once again, a particular school has chosen, by popular acclaim, a lass loved by all her schoolmates, to be their Queen. She has also been assured of a beautiful retinue and you ex-Queens who are witnesses here today are all asking yourselves this question: ” Were they all as bonnie as mine were?”

Comparisons are said to be obvious, but let us hope that today you are all assured that this is the best ever!

Practically all Bo’nessians, and especially the young ones, will assure everyone that no Fair can be bonnier or more spectacular than this present one. It is up to the next generations of pupils to strive to make their own Fair even more wonderful than the ones that have gone before.

Improvements can always be made and although many people over the years assure us that the Fair is a thing of the past, don’t believe them. Keep on making improvements. Keep on making your Fair the outstanding event of the year, and above all keep on enjoying this day to the full and make this day of days even more spectacular than it has even been before.

Every citizen on our town wishes all those who take part in this memorable day well and hope that in years to come we may all be able to once again acclaim our very own Queen.

But what should we only have Fair Day? Why not a Fair Evening?

Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to have all our houses, shops and streets illuminated on the Fair Night and to have a large procession of Fair Children and Fair Adults? Why not have a procession in the evening finishing up with a sing-song in the Glebe Park?

Many Bo’nessians both young and old would be very willing to make this a wonderful Anniversary Day, so now is the time to start arranging such a day for the Fair Day 1981!

Let us all give this a thought and make sure that our next Fair Day will indeed be something to put the Bo’ness Fair Day – and night – completely on the map.

It is the fervent hope of all our citizens, both at home and abroad, that today’s Fair Day will be the predecessor of an absolutely new day in the history, not only of the children, but of all the citizens of Bo’ness and District.

John G. Collee. J.P.

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