1984 – All The Fun Of The Fair

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1984, – THE YEAR OF BIG BROTHER as predicted by George Orwell. A year in which everything would change dramatically and freedom as we know it would be gone, for ever.

Science fiction, or not? Well, here we are in 1984 under the beady eye of Big Sister, say some – and looking forward to this, the 76th Fair Festival.

Perhaps since Bo’ness Fair saw its foundings in a freedom march, we can still look forward to another crowning in Glebe Park with the will that this, and many other fairs to follow, will continue to flourish and not be constrained by the future.

A rather long-minded view of things but, indeed, long-minded is exactly what David Brown and his group of disciples, namely the Fair Executive Committee, have to be. The amount of preparation, effort and toil that this group has to accomplish before the great day, starts in early winter months.

Certainly Continental weather would not come amiss muse the cynics, referring to past Fairs, in particular the last few. It is sadly one of the few things that even the almighty Fair Executive Committee can’t control, and when the heavens do open it means a lot of hard work down the drain.

Never-the-less, each year undeterred, they set forth in the cold winter climes, preparing what they hope to be a real scorcher. Indeed, last year, despite the afternoon downpour, “Bright Sol” did show “all his glory” exactly as the Town Hall clock chimed 11 o’clock.

It’s one piece of magic renowned as part of the event. The Bo’ness myth, that if the sun shines for the crowning it is an omen of good luck, is something that many over the age of 21 find hard to believe.

To those organisers of the event it is, undoubtedly, the icing on the cake. Compliments may rain down, but when it comes right down to it, it’s whether the kids are having a good time that should matter most.

The big day itself, the Fair E’en, the Kirkin’ and numerous other events all come part and parcel of the Executive Committee’s service to the town, providing a little hope in these troubled times.

To the head teachers of the town’s schools the task and routine of putting together a successful Royal Court – that will stun the townsfolk – is not so frequent.

Indeed, to a headmaster of the town’s newest school, Deanburn, the task is a “gigantic” one. As he recalls in 1979’s Fair Magazine of the school’s first Fair Queen: “The Fair of 1974 really brought public recognition that Deanburn had come into its own with our very first Queen, Linda Dow.” This year Mr Vallance, Deanburn’s head, will steer the same “gigantic” course.

As to the picking of the monarch, Mr Vallance has no fear, his pupils have excellent taste and the lucky lady will be well up to standard. ( Although unknown at the time of writing ( January), my notice has been drawn to the class “favourites.” Whether predictions will come true or not, will have to be seen!)

From speculation to shows – these too are expected. Indeed, no Fair would be complete without them. But the biggest show of the lot is no big dipper. It occurs on the last Friday in June, is watched by an audience totalling 10,000 plus, and runs with the timing of a West End production. Our annual coronation has now grown to be far more than just a gala day – to describe the Bo’ness Fair as such would be an injustice. No, this event is something far more special, it is an institution for the benefit of those young and innocent – those who will take the reins in 20 years time to plan their children’s Fairs.

So long as there are fairs in Bo’ness there will peace and freedom be. Even in these recession-filled years, happiness presides over a whole town for one day.

Mr Orwell’s gloomy picture of 1984, I hope, will never enter Bo’ness – so long, that is, as the community spirit is alive and well and producing such triumphs as the Bo’ness Fair.

ADRIAN MAHONEY

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