HISTORY was made 50 years ago this week at Kirkcaldy Town House when Lord Provost Harry Gourlay and Dr Jozef Listl, Oberburgermeister of Ingolstadt signed a “declaration of friendship” which would see the two towns twinned.
Almost immediately they became close allies with many visits to both taking place.
Pupils from St Andrews, Balwearie and Kirkcaldy High Schools travelled to Inglostadt, situated on the bank of the Danube River in Bavaria, as well as groups and organisations such as the YMCA, the Rotary Club of Kirkcaldy and St Marie’s Church group.
Teams representing sports from football to swimming and musical groups have also travelled to Germany from the Lang Toun.
And this year’s Bavarian Beer and Music Festival will double as a 50th anniversary celebration of the link between the towns which according to Robert Main, chairman of the Kirkcaldy Ingolstadt Association, is as strong as ever.
“The strength of the link still exists,” he said. “Behind visits by various groups there is also a trainee exchange which continues.
“A whole range of activities goes on between the two towns and I’m looking forward to celebrating the 50th anniversary, which is also an opportunity for the Kirkcaldy Ingolstadt Association to engage with the community.”
The Bavarian Beer and Music Festival will see 60 visitors arriving from Germany including the Deputy Provost of Ingolstadt, Sepp Misslbeck, who will be accompanied by two councillors, as well as a large group of musicians.
A busy timetable of events has been lined up including trips to the East Neuk, St Andrews, Edradour Whisky Distillery in Pitlochry, as well as a trip to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh as guest of Kirkcaldy MSP, David Torrance who is looking forward to meeting the German visitors.
He said: “Fifty years of town twinning is an extremely historic occasion.
“Building relationships by swapping visits year upon year is fantastic.
‘‘And I think we should really pay tribute to the volunteers who give up their own time to organise the festival. They deserve high praise indeed.
“I’m very much looking forward to taking the group of visitors to Parliament tomorrow (Friday) as well as the Festival itself, which is a huge boost for the town and for the town centre.”
The opening ceremony will take place tonight (Thursday) at 7.30 p.m. and Mr Main hopes it will be an occasion to remember.
“A whole load of work has gone into this,” he said “We’ve a lot of assistance with funding from various groups who deserve our thanks.
“We can’t do this all on our own and we rely on help and support which has just been fantastic.
“The purpose of the festival is to give a flavour of the Bavarian tradition and culture and I’m sure that the community in Kirkcaldy will come out and support the event and make it as successful as it has been in the past.”