The Largs Viking Festival has a new venue for its showpiece fireworks finale, as the nine day spectacular promises to be high flying with marvellous plane displays including an RAF Lancaster from the Battle of Britain.
With a strong educational element, the Viking Village once again returns to the esplanade, while the popular Viking Book Festival also returns, and the Hakon Hakonsson Lecture looks at the science behind the Norse invaders.
One of the major attractions which is relatively recent in the 36 year history of the festival is, of course, the Scottish Food and Craft Fayre, followed by the international food market which has grown year on year, and provides a delicious array of international cuisine to tempt the tastebuds.
The festival kicks off on Saturday 27 August with its traditional parade from Morrisons supermarket which starts at 1pm, followed by the opening ceremony at the esplanade at 1.30pm. 
The ceremony's official opening will be carried out by Suzanne Allan, BBC Scotland Newsreader and Reporter. The blessing will be given by Rev. David Watson, Clark Memorial Church, Largs. Performances follow from Largs Boys Brigade Pipe Band, Star Dance Academy with a dance workshop for young people, and Guarana Street Drummers and workshop.
There are also a diverse and exciting range of fringe events taking place including the return of the rubber duck race down the Gogo Burn at midday this Saturday, after it has been absent in recent years, and the launch of a photo exhibition at the Vikingar involving local snappers.
And you can be transported back in time with the 'Solid Gold 70s show' at Barrfields Theatre on Friday 2 September - faithfully reproducing the nostalgic tunes associated with the the 1970s, while presenting them in a fresh and original way. 
Chairman, Alex Gallagher added; “The Festival Board have made every effort to produce what should still be a fantastic spectacle where the main attraction will be the large living history Viking village. The Village is very educational and attracted 900 school children from 26 schools last year. The Viking re-enactors of Swords of Dalriada are occupying the village for the duration of the Festival and entertaining and enthralling visitors on the Viking way of life - their clothes, weapons, jewellery and food – with Viking traders from Sweden, Poland and Ireland. The Village entry fee is being kept at £5 for adults and £2 for children and concessions, with under 5s free, giving entry throughout the day so is great value for money if a wristband is bought on arrival."
* Due to budget constraints there are some changes to the timetable which the public should be aware of. The traditional Party at the Pencil on the second Saturday of the Festival has been replaced with a Viking Festival of Fire at the new location of Broomfields.
The torchlit procession will no longer take place on the Friday evening, but is incorporated into the Viking Festival of Fire. In another change from recent practice, the Viking Parade will depart from Morrison’s car park an hour earlier than previous years. The Parade will now begin at 1pm on Saturday 27 August.
Celebrations for the Viking Festival of Fire begin the Viking Village at 8pm. on Saturday 3rd September, where you can join the Vikings for a torchlit procession to Broomfields where there will be a Viking skirmish, burning of a longship and spectacular fireworks display at 9pm.
Viking Festival Treasurer Ray Young said; “The festival has been arranged in difficult financial times for both the organisers and our main sponsor, North Ayrshire Council, who have had to withdraw from organising and funding Party at the Pencil due to budget cuts”.
“The public should be aware of the changes. In particular, and in order to allow our full programme of events, the Viking Parade will begin at 1pm, not 2pm as in previous years. And the torchlit procession will not now take place on the Friday evening. Instead there will be a procession on the second Saturday at 8pm, which will join with the new Viking Festival of Fire at Broomfields”.
* There are events throughout the week for all the family including a Scottish Food and Craft Market; the fabulous owls of Owl Magic; a large funfair and, of course, the
Viking village. At weekends there are additional events including aerobatic displays – with an RAF Lancaster Bomber on 3 and 4 September at 4.30 p.m., on-stage entertainment, Les Amis d’Onno Medieval Stables on 3 and 4 September, street performers, dance workshops, yoga for toddlers, children’s activities including learning circus skills, Viking skirmishes, a Viking BookFest with authors of Viking books and Come Scribble events and much, much more.”
Please check the Festival website at for the full programme.
Alex Gallagher added: "Our thanks go to our main sponsors North Ayrshire Council, MalinWaters, Magnox Socio-economic Scheme and SSE Community Fund for their generous support."