The dust has settled on another Invercairn Gala Week which, as expected, has been a great success.
The Fraserburgh Herald caught up with organiser Peter Tait to tell us all about the week including some highlights.
While the Gala Week is a well-known event, it usually kicks off the weekend before with the Gala Golf Open which takes place at Inverallochy Golf Club.
The Gala got off to a great start on Saturday, July 31 and the Golf Open had a total of 170 entries
Peter told the Herald: “The Invercairn Gala Week had very little change to its structure this year and as usual kicked off with a kid’s favourite, the Treasure Trail.
“To see over 108 entries of over 150 children excluding mums, dads and grannies, race out and burst through the marquee entrance is a really good feeling knowing the week was off to a good start.”
After answering local geographical questions and collecting some treasure trinkets, the fastest lot were heading back within 45 minutes, ready for marking before tucking in to their free juice and crisps.
While this was going on, all around the crew of volunteers were busy continuing setting up the marquee internal accompaniments. The first of the evening’s events kicked off with a new event, a Family Zumba class.
Around 100 ladies and children strutted their stuff, while the men folk were confined to the outdoors as Karen whisked them all into and out of shape!
The Wheelbarrow Race followed with slight course modifications this year to provide more entertainment value. A great crowd turned out to cheer on the brave entries, although no water obstacles, the blindfolded communication still showed that left can be right and forward is never straight ahead.
Next up was the Family Horse Racing where a record turnout attended and very loud nag cheering could be heard all throughout the villages.
“Thanks to Archie and Alistair, the tote was once again in safe hands,” said Peter.
“Next year though, a new DVD player is on the cards as we soon found out two DVDs in the same machine was proving somewhat difficult to operate.”
With a good turnout for the Junior Bingo kicking off on Wednesday afternoon, the mums, dads, grannies and aunties all usually ended up covering a few books apiece, while the younger ones used their dabbers and coloured pens for other decorating purposes.
The main attractions for the evening and some say the highlight of the week - the Quiz and Talent-less Show - drew in almost 800 people, the largest crowd attendance to-date.
“Some arrived two hours early to ensure they got a seat, while hundreds queued outside till well past the start time of 7pm,” continued Peter.
“With 127 teams entered, up 20 from last year for the quiz and six talent-less acts, it was shaping up for a super night.”
With a new team taking over the mantle as quiz champions, the runners-up were still well known ‘quiz aficionados’.
‘The Funky Monkeys’ kicked off the Talent-less Show, followed by ‘Amy Winehouse & Georgie’s Slaves’ with a homemade ‘Rehab’ cover version. A hip-gyrating special with ‘Elvis and Mini-Pelvis’ followed soon after.
There was a special appearance by the already YouTube classic ‘Bombay Bad Boy, Zumba Instructor, who’s appearance set those in attendance into a frenzy.
‘Take That & Special Guests’ took to the stage afterwards and to close the show ‘Robbie Williams’ blasted out a rendition of the hit favourite Angels, where the whole cast and attending audience joined in and had the marquee roof popping out of its supports.
“We thought capping Wednesday was impossible, but Thursday night had a twist which proved to be a real crowd pleaser,” said Peter.
Uncle Brian entertained the kids at the Junior Disco and kept them highly energised for a couple of hours.
“The saddest part of the evening however was the lost voice of our regular bingo caller, the crowd were in a deep depression.
“But, the reserve caller in the form of ‘John McRuvie’ had us all in fits of laughter while dabbers were busy racing to claim the big payouts.
“Fortunately we had only the one false shout this year which resulted in the now usual chorus of ‘braying donkeys’.
“With over 630 people present, you could hear a pin drop, apart from McRuvie’s ‘blue nose’ jokes which kept a few in stitches and others somewhat subdued.
“John finished off the night with his Comedy Disco and both he and his counterpart Dave managed to get the crowds onto the floor to boogie the evening away.”
Friday’s Fancy Dress Parade was called early as an inside event to prevent the wind blowing all the costumes about, with two superb judges from FJAS.
After all the entries received their £1 and paraded the marquee, the judging proved to be an impossible task.
With additional prizes this year for the Most Cutest, the groups and pairs proved to be the most difficult, and the eventual Best Overall winner of the day went to the well deserved and incredibly cute ‘Book Worm’.
There was a fantastic turn of help again this year, the main Gala Day on Saturday was all set up and done and dusted well before lunch time.
Although the invisible sunshine didn’t appear, the crowd turned out in their droves to support our day at the Inverallochy Playing Fields.
The official opener this year was local MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford who had a wonderful day and was very generous in her praise for all the efforts put in by all to make this Gala such a success.
Her second task of the day is one of the most thankless ones, where she had to judge the lovely ‘Baby Show’, with all the eager, mums, dads, grannies and grandmas hanging on to hear if their kith and kin were winners.
“We went through so much ‘Peter’s Ice Cream’ that afternoon we had cows on standby at a local farm and with over 650 burgers sold, the ‘burger babes’ had to consider lining up a few beef coos as well,” said Peter.
With something for everyone, ‘Twit2Woo’ kept a fair crowd with their lovely turnout of birds, ‘610 Dance Co.’ gyrated a great couple of shows, the new ‘Super Bungee’ and ‘Climbing Wall’ drew huge queues all afternoon, Jim’s selection of inflatable’s was a huge success, the stalls all ran empty and the ‘Fresh Fish’ stall and ‘Kipper BBQ’ was another area of much busyness.
The ‘Fraserburgh Jog Scotland’ 3K and 10K runners had a very good turnout and were glad of the cooler weather compared to the scorching heat of last year.
The ‘RBL Pipe Band’ skirled out once again some world class performances to keep us all tapping our feet and slapping thighs all afternoon. Worthy of a mention inside the marquee were all the well presented stalls and the marvellous array of tea ladies who did a great job and turned out a beautifully-prepared assortment of fancies from over 500 trays of baking. Never have queues been seen so long waiting for a ‘tae-ina-peece’.
When the band finishes with its last and well-known partisan song at Saturday’s Marquee in the early hours of Sunday morning, reality hits as the crowds begin to disappear where once again the annual Invercairn Gala week is almost at a close.
“The night was an amazing hit, with approximately 750 attendees filling the dance floor as soon as the band Splash’ began belting out their fantastic array of live music,” admitted Peter.
“It was a long, but well worthy wait over the last few years to see them finally on the stage.
“Lead singer Mark had his mobile phone out taking videos throughout the night of the large crowd supporting them. His band thoroughly enjoyed performing at the gala and voiced their keen desire to come back and entertain us again.
“A full day of team building took place on the Sunday following a hugely entertaining 4.30am finish for some of the committee and helpers, which included vast amounts of tidying up and an internal-marquee-dismantling sessions by those that could make it, the usual mammoth task didn’t take us too long and left minimal work for the final clear up on Monday.”
The Gala Praise with its new 6pm start time was hosted again by ‘Bill Sangster’ who kept everyone well entertained and voices in fine fettle.
There was a couple of lovely songs from Nex Factor finalist Stephanie Buchan and a few tunes from a small group of very young and some not quite so young flutists, all was well received and applauded by those present.
“All in all the whole week was another roaring success and while we saw a dip in the attendance in some events, others were well up and the committee felt it has been the most efficiently ran gala to-date.”
The profits are yet to be released for this year’s Gala but a great hand must go to the ICSG committee for a successful gala.
“This makes the year of planning, and the behind scenes work all worthwhile and spurs us on to do the whole lot again for next year.
“One common phrase we used to folk this year was the organisation felt like being a duck at times; on the surface well prepared and calm, but underwater, paddling like hell!
“Finally, on behalf of the ICSG, I would like to thank each and every person who helped us out in any way this year in making the Invercairn Gala the huge success it has become. Whether you attended, planned, helped, baked, photographed, cooked, served, collected, sold, slept, babysat, donated, entertained, supplied and most importantly turned up, it is all appreciated and each forms a part of our eventful big jigsaw. We never have enough committee and dedicated members and rely very heavily on the people giving up some of their time and effort to enable us to put together such a successful week.
“Without this fantastic spirited community effort, the committee would not be able to piece the whole week together due to the importance of voluntary contribution. For those who would like to venture on to our committee and be part of this success, just contact any one of the current members or contact us direct via our Invercairn Gala Facebook page, for the date of our next meeting.”