Santa’s Grotto and donkeys are just two of the new attractions featured in this year’s Scott’s Selkirk.
For nearly 12 hours on Saturday the Royal Burgh of Selkirk will be buzzing as residents and visitors recreate the days of Sir Walter Scott and hold their annual Christmas Fair.
There will be attractions for young and old alike, and the opportunity for everyone to get into the true spirit of a Georgian Christmas by hiring costumes on the day from the Scott’s Selkirk shop.
Law-abiding citizens can take a peek into the sheriff court and sit on the sheriff’s bench, or even in the dock.
And there is the opportunity to venture into the tunnel which linked the court with the county prison, now the library.
A visit to the old court room in Market Place will also give a flavour of life back in the early 1800s, when Sir Walter Scott was sheriff. Local actors will re-enact two of his well-known cases – The New Manse and The Tailors’ Banner. Performances are at 11.30am 12.30pm, 2.15pm and 3.15pm, and tickets are available at the courtroom one hour before every show.
For followers of Scott there is more in the library, where Dr Sandra Mackenzie, learning officer with the Abbotsford Trust, gives a free informal talk on Scott and his links with Selkirkshire, followed by some short readings by the Voice of Edinburgh Tattoo, Alasdair Hutton, in his role as chairman of the Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club. Places can be booked at the library.
But Christmas is for children and Scott’s Selkirk has an abundance of activities for youngsters. In addition to donkeys and a goat, at The Hermitage there will also be birds of prey and an amazing ‘dancing bear’ that will be cavorting around the town.
On the High Street, youngsters will discover Santa’s Grotto, where they will be able to meet the man of the moment and, for just £2, receive a Christmas gift.
And be on the look out for some dastardly pirates who will be prowling around all day looking for treasure. With a children’s carousel, street organ and many market stalls, there will be lots to keep everyone entertained. Youngsters can also spend time in Halliwells House Museum, just off Market Place, where there will be a children’s craft workshop. For £1 each, they can have fun making a Christmas novelty.
The missing French prisoners have finally been rounded up and will, no doubt, be entertaining along the High Street with some of their fiendish plans. They will have to compete with the Border Clansmen, who will be basing their activities on Flodden in this 500th anniversary year. The latter will also be holding a Flodden film show in Connections on Back Row at 2pm, immediately after a display from Selkirk Country Dancers.
There will be lots of musical entertainment, including the United Churches Carol, Singers, Riddell Fiddles, the Bogie’s Close Stompers, and many more.
Food and drink will be available throughout the day at Meg Dod’s Kitchen in the County Hotel pend, while inside the hotel there will be entertainment from 11am to 4pm in the form of four performances from the newly-revived Selkirk Players with their one-act farce, Gibbie Proposes, Elspeth Smellie performing the Abbotsford manuscript ballads and tunes, and Matt Seattle’s A Border Piper’s Tour of Robert Burns.
In the Victoria Halls, between 10am and 3pm, the Rotary Club of Selkirk is holding it Charities’ Bazaar.
There will be programmes available to point visitors in the right direction, and the Town Cryer – The Southern Reporter’s Bob Burgess – will be on hand to promote activities.
The afternoon’s events will be brought to a close with the highly impressive firework display, which has once again been generously sponsored by Belmont, Selkirk’s Kia and Suzuki motor dealers.
But this is not the time to slope off home, because a new attraction this year will be a ceilidh in Meg Dod’s Kitchen, at the County Pend, for one hour.
The evening concert, which has been moved to the function suite of the County Hotel, begins at 7.30pm, when some of those who have been entertaining throughout the day will be once again be performing, alongside the Hoppes and Cavan Rodgers. John Nichol and Graham Coulson will be the comperes.
10am Opening Parade, led by Selkirk Flute Band and Scott’s Selkirk Maistress, Edith Scott, will leave Mungo Park.
10.15 Opening Ceremony, Market Place.
4pm Torchlight Procession and mulled wine.
4.35pm Closing Ceremony
4.45pm Belmont Motors’ Fireworks and Selkirk Silver Band (animal owners in the vicinity please note!)
5-6pm Meg Dod’s Ceilidh
7.30pm Grand Concert, Function Suite, County Hotel