Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Make a Weekend of the Marymass Festival in Irvine

Keeping today's theme of Ayrshire Festival's going we can't overlook the traditional Marymass Festival in Irvine.

From fireworks to folk music, crowning to comedy, racing to rock music, horses to history Irvine has it all every August for the Marymass Festival with 12 days of tradition and there's still a whole weekend and more of activities left to enjoy.  Download the Highlights Brochure for information

The Festival is steeped in local culture and retains many of its ancient traditions dating back to the 17th century. This, coupled with a modern twist, makes it a must see festival for the whole family.

Join the carnival atmosphere on Marymass Saturday (Saturday 21 August) when one of the largest horse-drawn processions in Scotland leads the crowd to Irvine Town Centre to witness the Crowning of Marymass Queen. The parade then makes its way to Irvine Moor, where a full afternoon of sporting events takes place, including what is reputed to be the world's oldest horse race meeting and legendary Greasy Pole competition – a quirky Marymass tradition which sees teams attempting to climb a 20ft pole coated in grease to retrieve the 'coveted ham'.

The Marymass Folk Festival (Wednesday 18 to Sunday 22 August) is an institution in Irvine, where a wealth of national and international musicians appear in a sensational programme over five days. This year sees many folk favourites returning, such as The McCalmans, Johnny Silvo, The Ideal Band and rising stars such as Chloe Matharu.

A new family night has been introduced to the Marymass calendar – in the shape of Dancing Queen – an all singing and dancing event in the Magnum Centre on Sunday 15 August. So dig out your flares and dust down your platforms and get down to sing along to all your ABBA favourites.

Irvine was made a Royal Burgh in 1372 and is now a busy town with important historical and maritime connections. The Moor, on Kilwinning Road, was the location of the first-ever horseracing meeting, in the 17th century. Rumour has it that the Irvine Carters' Society rode from the town to fight for Mary Queen of Scots - hence the annual celebration of Marymass.

With over 100 different events, the Festival runs from 12 to 23 August 2010 - check online availability for Irvine and Ayrshire Hotels and make short break of your visit.

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