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Braw Burns Night celebrations herald in next generation of Riverside Light Nights in Perth

The parade made its way through Perth city centre to the Norie Miller Riverside Walk.
The parade made its way through Perth city centre to the Norie Miller Riverside Walk.

Hundreds of people gathered in Perth City Centre on Saturday night to commemorate Scotland’s national bard.

Perth and Kinross Council pulled out all the stops as they shut down Tay Street and embraced Rabbie Burns’ love of all things Scottish.

The afternoon of celebrations started with a fun fair and twilight market showcasing top quality local produce and crafts along the riverside street until 9pm.

Pipers and drummers from Perth, Alyth, Glenrothes and Cupar, as well as the RAF Central Scotland band and the combined band of the Boys Brigade performed together as a massed band, with dozens of musician marching through the Fair City.

Their Burns parade, led by Major Ian Findlay, was followed by two combined performances which wowed the crowds who braved the cold.

Elsewhere in the city centre, revellers had the chance to embrace some 90s nostalgia and take on a Robot Wars-themed challenge in the evening.

But all eyes were on the Norie Miller Walk, where the first of the much anticipated Riverside Light Nights returned to Perth.

The flood defences were lit up with poetry written by Burns, while the popular walk was illuminated with saltires and stunning optical displays and pyrotechnics.

In the arches beneath the Perth Bridge, musicians including the Mad Ferret Band, Bags of Rock, Stevie McCrorie and Supa and Da Kryptonites played to a packed out crowd. Meanwhile, rising stars from Julie Young Dancers also performed at the riverside walkway.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney, who was among the crowd, said: “It was a fabulous Riverside Light Night in Perth to mark Burns Night which was much joy amongst the crowds with great music and massed pipes and drums.”

Saturday was the first of the 2020 light nights, and the free Burns-themed night light show was repeated on Sunday night.

Tonight sees the one-day Music In The Park light show, in a nod to the iconic T in the Park music festival which drew thousands of fans to Perthshire from 1998 to 2016. This will also be free for members of the public to enjoy.

However there will be four nights of paid events at the Perth parkland this week, with Tuesday and Wednesday being dedicated to The School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, complete with a crowd of Harry Potter actors.

On Thursday and Friday, council bosses will be rolling back the millennia as they launch Jurassic Perth on the banks of the Tay. Both of these themed events will cost £5 to enter, with concessions available for toddlers.

The light nights will wrap up next weekend with a free two-night Chinese New Year celebration, in what has become one of Scotland’s biggest parties to mark the lunar festival.

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