Market brings a busy year to a glittering conclusion

Bouwien Bennet with the festival programme.
Bouwien Bennet with the festival programme.

The old adage about great oaks and little acorns is certainly true in the case of a group of volunteers behind one of Kinross-shire’s biggest events of the year.

Having begun as an offshoot of Friends of Kirkgate Park just three years ago, Kinross-shire Local Events Organisation (better known as KLEO) has grown into a major force in the local community.

The group has just released the programme for its third annual winter festival, a combination of festive activities and musical events headlined by none other than singer Eddi Reader. She’ll be following in the footsteps of Ricky Ross and Barbara Dickson, both of whom have starred at the festival.

Not only that, but Commonwealth Games silver medallist and European champion Eilidh Child – originally from Kinross – is returning to her home town on November 29 to perform the official Christmas lights switch-on.

The festival represents a massive feat of organisation but perhaps surprisingly is spearheaded by a committee comprising just 10 people.

However, events co-ordinator Bouwien Bennet says that none of it would be possible without the support and practical help of other local organisations and businesses, who are generous with their time as well as their money.

She explained: “KLEO was formed initially to organise gazebo gatherings in the grounds of Kinross House.

“They were very popular for a couple of years but were weather-dependent and it was thought it would be better to move indoors.

“In addition, Kinross House was sold so the venue was no longer available.”

“At first, the focus was on music,” continued Bouwien.

“But now the event has grown into a winter festival involving a huge variety of community activities, a street market, Christmas fairs, nature walks, films and a whole lot more.

“We work closely with other groups in the town and they are all very supportive.”

Supporting Eddi Reader will be Alice Marra and Andrew Mitchell from the Hazey Janes, who will be performing as a duo, while the extensive programme features something for all ages and musical tastes.

Highlights include the popular ‘singing butcher’, Iain Hunter, with the Eliot Murray Big Band; Kinross-shire’s Got Talent; Lucy Duffy’s ‘One Night on Broadway ‘; Focus ; The Messiah in a Day, Choirs Together and many more.

The full programme is available to download at www.kinrosswinterfestival.co.uk