Barrhead gala day to return
A DATE has been set for the return of Barrhead Gala Day after a two-year absence, delighted organisers declared this week.
Floats, live bands, beer tents and stalls will once again fill Cowan Park after talks resulted in a commitment to resurrect the popular spectacular in 2013.
Saturday, June 1 has been pencilled in for the big day, with organisers promising something 'special' to make up for the disappointment of previous years.
The last gala was held in 2011 and widely considered to be a shadow of its former years.
Plagued with funding problems, the committee increasingly struggled to put together the event until last year, when it failed to materialise completely.
During talks at Auchenback Resource Centre last week, the old committee was disbanded and a new one elected.
New chairman Douglas Yates this week told how he was hoping to restore the gala, popular with thousands of people, to its former glory.
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He said: "The gala has been sorely missed in recent years by many, and that\u2019s even more of an incentive to ensuring next year's will be special."
The gala traditionally attracts thousands of people from across East Renfrewshire, and has featured sky divers and fly-overs from the Red Arrows.
Mr Yates said: "Hopefully, old favourites like the Craigie race, bowling tournament, gala queen contest, and junior talent competition can be revived.
"I'm looking for a local harrier to organise the race with committee support."
The Craigie race sees contestants running to the former iron age fort above Barrhead before returning to Cowan Park.
However, the committee is still in need of more members and support.
"I am appealing to all readers to get in touch with me if they would like to help organise the gala day or join the gala committee," said Douglas.
"I'm particularly keen to hear from members of school councils, churches, community organisations, sports clubs and volunteer organisations as well as individuals.
"It is going to take the collective efforts of a large team of volunteers to deliver the kind of gala day which everyone would like to enjoy."
Haven taken place in the town for more than 50 years in various forms, the gala day had become a staple part of the Barrhead summer before running into financial difficulties.
A shortage of volunteers prompted several appeals for help in the Barrhead News, before funding finally dried up before the 2012 gala could recover.
Historically one of the town's children is chosen as the town's gala queen each year, and she rides through the town on a decorated float on or a classic car and presents the trophies.
Prizes traditionally include the coveted best float award, which is judged by a panel of well-known community figures, with all Barrhead schools taking part, designing themed floats that were carried by trucks donated by companies from around East Renfrewshire.
Balloon races, quad bikes, birds of prey and a talent show were among the regular events.
Previously the gala day has been funded through a number of different sources, including the local area forum.
This year the committee hopes to do the same, but Mr Yates says members need fresh ideas on how to raise funds or lower the costs of running a successful event.
He said: "It goes without saying that a big constraint will be the lack of finances, but if Barrhead News readers have good ideas about new events for the gala that would be relatively inexpensive to run, then the committee will be more than happy to consider them."
Mr Yates can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article appeared in Barrhead News 12 Dec 12