With a day or so to reflect on this year's extraordinary Largs Viking Festival, here are some thoughts from me, as Chair of the Largs Viking Festival Board.
The Festival takes place over 9 days but it takes a whole year of hard work and planning. That work is done quietly, behind the scenes, with no fuss, by a small team of Board Members. They don't do it for the glory . They do it as a service to the town and community of Largs.
The current board, in no particular order, consists of Elaine and Tom McMillan, Douglas Blair, William Ferguson, Lesley and Alastair McCormack, John Dobbie and the Rev Jonathon Fleming with myself as Chair.... Ray and Linda Young "retired" from the Board last year, but they have still been there to give sterling support, as has Liz Blair.
There are no politics with either a small "p" or a large "P". It's not about that, it's about our community, i.e. your community.
It is a year-round commitment. Some of us had a clear up meeting at the site, and the talk was already of next year's festival. What lessons have been learned from this year, what we can improve next year.
We also have to say, loud and clear, a huge thanks to the NAC Council workers at the Alexander Avenue Depot. Each year they construct (and deconstruct) the village and cover all bases in between, They are the unsung heroes of the festival, reacting to weather, shortages and other problems with great spirit and gusto.
And of course the people of Largs and the surrounding area. Without the support of the local public it just would not be the same. In recent years we have seen an increase in international visitors, but in our minds it's still our local celebration.
A final word about this year's Viking Festival. Saturday was phenomenal. The crowds and the atmosphere were unique. Friendly with a great buzz.
But it could have been so different. The first 7 days of the Festival were plagued by bad weather. It rained buckets. We lost a large marquee and two traders stall to the winds. If the weather hadn't changed, Largs Viking Festival 2019 might have been a damp squib or even a wash-out. Even if it had, the Board would be sitting again in the next few weeks, planning and plotting the 40th Anniversary Largs Viking Festival (BTW, how visionary were the people who started all this 40 years ago? Hats off to them too!).
Then again, the sun did come out, and so did the crowds and we had the best two days ever in terms of attendance and enjoyment.
Forward to 2020 !

Alex Gallagher
Chair, Largs Viking Festival Board.