QUEEN OF THE SEA IS BACK!
EIGHTY three years after the first Queen was crowned, the people of Saltcoats are gearing up for a weekend of music, family fun and entertainment as the 2011 Queen of the Sea festival approaches.
Although the annual event has arguably dipped in and out of popularity over the years, the organisers at Saltcoats Gala Committee are hoping to re-ignite passion and enthusiasm among the community for the festival which takes places next weekend on Saturday, July 16 and Sunday, July 17.
"This is a community event and we need the community to join in with us and get involved in whatever way they can. It's for the community to enjoy and it's not too late for people to get involved - come along to be part of the parade, set up a stall at Melbourne Park or get your community group involved," said Committee Chair Isabella Salvona.
Taking centre stage at this year's celebrations will be Mayfield Primary School's Carly Cowan. North Ayrshire Provost Pat McPhee will be accompanying the Queen in her horse and carriage during the ceremonial parade, where Carly will also be joined by Captain Archie Rutherford, Ladies in Waiting Alex Dalgoutte, Lauren Barr and Lauryn Reid, and Bucaneers Colin Dickie, Jack Martin and Alan Payne.
During the parade, which leaves from Campbell Avenue at 10.30am, music will be provided by Irvine Pipe Band who will lead the procession and Ardrossan Winton Pipe Band who will follow behind the participants.
Following tradition, the colourful procession will pass through the streets of Saltcoats before arriving at Melbourne Park where Queen Carly will be crowned by last year's Royal couple.
Melbourne Park will, as ever, be awash with stalls, small funfair rides for the kids and bigger rides for the bigger kids. Dancers from both Ardrossan and Kilbirnie's PIE Arts group will also be dancing together, while Starlight Disco will be compering for the day at the Park and also providing an upbeat soundtrack throughout.
Other acts at the Park include Uncle Billy's Puppet Show, historical re-enactment group Swords of Dalriada, Birds of Prey and a variety of charity stalls. Free face-painting will also be on offer, as will arts and crafts, games, bouncy castles, slides and football.
The celebrations will continue into Sunday where £250 is up for grabs at as a fantastic karaoke competition in the Park continues from Saturday. It will be run by Meat Loaf tribute act Jim Stirrat who - currently in Las Vegas - is expected to enthral the crowds in Saltcoats. The competition is open to anyone of any age and participants should register by 12noon on Sunday. Kiddies rides, stalls, bouncy castles and the fairground will remain at the Park for Sunday's activities.
Whether you are a community group, a family, group of friends, charity or local business, if you'd like to get involved in this year's Queen of the Sea contact Isabella on 07778 975 698 or Alice on 07932 622 314. There's still time to set up a stall, take a place in the parade or enter your group into the programme of events at Melbourne Park - be a part of it all!
For the full story see this week's Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald.