Europe’s longest street fair is set to head back to Kirkcaldy Esplanade in April after Covid restrictions left the Lang Toun without the famous Links Market for the past two years.
Alex James Colquhoun, chairman of the Scottish Section of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain, says everyone associated with the funfair had been buoyed this week by news that many of the legal requirements associated with Covid measures are to end on March 21.
And that means that planning for the Links Market, which typically attracts tens of thousands of people to the waterfront over six days, has been stepped up as organisers look to put on a bumper show following a barren period for everyone involved.
The rides, stalls and attractions are all expected to roll into town for the first time since 2019 from April 10 onwards, with the Links Market open to the thrill-seeking public between April 13 and 18.
No reason why market can’t go ahead
“We’re well advanced in the planning and everything is looking like it will be fine for April as planned,” Mr Colquhoun.
“The Links Market is the most popular fair by far, it’s the flagship, and the fact it’s not been on for two years has been a real hardship.
“But we’re cracking on this year and there’s no reason why it can’t go ahead.
“There will be hand sanitisers in place, we’ll make masks available in certain areas, and we’ll make regular announcements to remind people about social distancing and keeping themselves safe.
“But now that it’s just guidance, I think the Links Market should be as close to as normal as it possibly can be.
“With it being during the Easter holidays as well, we think this will be a particularly good year.”
Return a ‘milestone’
Mr Colquhoun admits it has been a frustrating two years for everyone involved with the Showmen’s Guild in Scotland but sees the return of the Links Market as something of a milestone.
“It has been really, really difficult, especially in Scotland,” he said.
“In England, their restrictions were eased a bit more and fun fairs were able to go ahead in many cases.
“People were frustrated with myself, with politicians, because they saw people south of the border doing the very thing their business is involved in, doing it England, but for whatever reason they couldn’t do it in Scotland.
“So it has been very hard.
“We managed to get Burntisland Summer Fair on last year and it was a real challenge but I think it was the most popular it’s ever been.
“I think that shows that people were really keen to get out and enjoy themselves, and there were no cases associated with the running of the fair last year.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed earlier this week that the country’s legal Covid restrictions, including the wearing of face coverings, will end on March 21, while Covid passports will end on February 28.
People will still be advised to wear masks in shops and on public transport, but it will now only be guidance and not legally enforceable.
Ms Sturgeon said the changes would see Scotland move away from legal restrictions, relying instead on vaccines, treatments and “good public health behaviours”.