Festival followers set to rally round Sam

Melrose Festival  Crowning (Thursday)

Melrose Festival Crowning (Thursday)

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The biggest week of the year for another Border town is fast approaching, with final preparations being made for Melrose Festival.

Taking place between Sunday, June 16, and Saturday, June 22, the highlights of the week are the rideout on the Monday and the installation of the Melrosian and crowning of the Festival Queen at the beautiful setting of Melrose Abbey on the Thursday.

Melrose Festival. (sat) Trimontium

Melrose Festival. (sat) Trimontium

This year it is Sam Thomson who will proudly lead the celebrations, with Graeme Crawford and Ruaridh Nairn by his side. Festival Queen is Zoe Palmer.

James Marjoribanks, the festival chairman, said: “As usual we have a fairly busy week with the main events being the ride-out on the Monday, the installation on Thursday, ball on Friday and Tour of Ceremonies and the sports on Saturday.

“The fancy dress is always popular on the Tuesday and this year we have introduced a festival family barbecue at Annay Road following the bike ride on the Wednesday.

“The BBQ is a new one for us and we hope to have up to 400 adults and children coming to buy freshly-cooked burgers, beer, wine and soft drinks where appropriate.

“It is not only open to bike riders, everyone is welcome, and if the weather is poor people can use the ball marquee which will be available, so we are hoping for a big crowd.”

Mr Marjoribanks added: “This is my first year as chairman, so fingers crossed we get good weather for our week, and as many people in the Melrose and surrounding communities as possible come out and support our Melrosian, Sam Thomson, and his Queen, Zoe Palmer, and also have a very enjoyable time.”

The official start of the festival programme is the laying of a wreath at the war memorial on Sunday morning, followed by the Kirkin’ of the Melrosian.

The five-a-side football at Gibson Park will follow on Sunday afternoon.

On Monday, the ride-out leaves from the Greenyards at 6pm, with the concluding ceremony in the Market Square at 9.30pm.

The fancy dress kicks off in Gibson Park at 6.15pm on Tuesday, followed by a disco in Melrose RFC clubrooms.

The popular bike ride takes place at 6.30pm on Wednesday, with the barbecue at 8pm.

After the installation on Thursday, the Festival Ball takes place on Friday night.

On Saturday, Sam and his followers will carry out the Tour of the Ceremonies, leaving at 9am.

The sports take place at 2.30pm, the pipe band will entertain from 7pm and the festival concludes with the annual dinner at 8pm.