I am told it is a rite of passage, an integral part of growing up in this area and an absolute must-do for any newcomer to Fife – the Links Market.
The sprawling fun fair winds down the Esplanade but the buzz starts much before.
Strolling down the High Street towards the bright lights, excited chatter contemplates what rides there will be, what food is on offer and what fun will be had.
The simple answer is – lots. As Depute Provost Kay Morrison, who officially opened the fair said ‘it takes you back to your childhood’. “It is an important part of the charm of the fair, putting you back in touch with the joy of being young. Links Market really captures that simple pleasure.” And for those who are still young, there are lots of memories to be made.
Amidst the more hair-raising options there is plenty of old favourites such as the Fun House, Ghost Train and Wacky Races. Opportunities to demonstrate your inner showman are plentiful with numerous ‘hook-a-duck’, target shooting and hoopla stands guaranteed to win you a prize...
And if all you fancy is a wander and to soak up the atmosphere, a good selection of food and drink stalls are dotted sporadically amongst the fun. Adding an international flavour to the traditional offerings are a German bratwurst stand and a noodle hut.
Declared open by Ms Morrison on Wednesday, the beat of the rides immediately kicked into action. Mechanical arms raised into the air, cups began spinning and the thud of the music filled the air.
The grey skies and occasional spits of rain did little to deter the locals and the more daring souls stepped aboard the likes of fear inducing named rides such as Limb O Danger, Booster and Sea Storm. “It is the beginning of the season and Kirkcaldy will set the forecast for the year,” said John Culzine MBE, junior vice president of the Showmen’s Guild.
His first time at the Links Market, Mr Culzine has lived a life as a showman. “It’s in my blood and it is such a pleasure to finally get here.
“I would like to thank the local authority, the showmen for the way they present the rides and most importantly to the public for their support.
“I am off to a fair in Wales soon and I will be telling them about this one! It has been such a warm welcome.”
Warning of the threat to fairs he added: “We are the only industry in entertainment that does not get funding and it is becoming increasingly hard as people do not carry cash.” However, with a positive turnout on a dreich day and the draw of countless rides, for young and old, it looks like Europe’s longest fun fair is set up for a good run.
Thursday, April 14 - 1pm - 10.30pm
Friday, April 15 - 1pm - 11pm
Saturday, April 16 - 1pm - 11pm
Sunday, April 17 - 1pm - 9pm
Monday, April 18 - 1pm - 10pm
Entry to the fair is free with charges on individual rides and food stalls. A general guide for ride prices in £1 – £5. Toilet cubicles are available with a charge of 30p.