Ayrshire’s yearly celebration of local folklore – Tamfest – is to return this October after three years of Covid restrictions.

The Ayr-based festival, which is named the famous Robert Burns’ poem, is planning more events and hoping for bigger crowds as anticipation builds.

Festival founder and chair, Meredith McCrindle, said: “I think the fact that we are able to come back is just amazing.”

The Tam o’ Shanter poem, which follows the gruelling misadventure of farmer Tam as he is chased down by spooky creatures, is the festival’s namesake.

Meredith said: “As an American, I hadn’t really heard of Robbie Burns, I peripherally knew him but now I’m living in the heart of ‘Burns country’.

“I remember coming across the Tam o’ Shanter poem. I thought it was one of the greatest stories I have ever heard. It has everything in it, a great character, complex themes and it’s really a story about self-discovery.”

According to Meredith, this year’s celebration will bring back fan favourites like the Trail of Terror.

“Because of the success of the Trail of Terror last year, the council, who have been very big supporters of Tamfest, agreed to allow us to use Rozelle House.

“Meaning we will have a Trail of Terror where you get to see some amazing art installations from Scottish artists, who have brought their own different interpretations.

“The Art Gallery will also be exclusively displaying the art of Craig Campbell. However, the big thing is the reintroduction of the Haunted House, which always sells out.”

The Scottish Ghost company, a paranormal group, will host ghost hunting events in places like the Tam o’ Shanter Inn.

She added: “The Tam Pub is a great place to see some ghosts if you are very quiet”

The pub owners said that when they bought the Inn, they “already knew it was haunted” as many staff have “confirmed” but that they “are so excited to have a full ‘Ghost Hunt’ this year.”

The Scottish Ghost Company will also host ghost tours in the depths of Ayr Town Hall where 12 untouched Victorian jail cells lie.

“The thing that makes it scary is the story behind it, they don’t have to make anything up, it’s all there,” according to Meredith.

The ghost hunters expressed that they “are excited to have the opportunity to investigate two such locations for this year’s Tam Fest” and that if their “initial site visits are anything to go by, both the Town Hall Jail Cells and the Tam o’ Shanter Inn will provide some amazing evidence of life beyond this life!”

Tamfest was founded in 2015 after Meredith, who had come over to Scotland to finish her postgraduate studies, found herself in Ayr where she set up shop.

To Meredith, this festival is about promoting ‘Rabbie Burns’ as other countries like Austria promote figures like Mozart, and ensuring “his legacy and amazing messages live on. That is what I’m wanting accomplish with Tamfest in my own small way.”