Burntisland Shows: Re-assuringly familiar sights and sounds as the fair return
Right now we crave normality, and nothing can be more re-assuringly familiar than the sight, and sound, of a fair in full flight.
Even on a dreich Tuesday night, the lights at Burntisland Shows still dazzle through the gloom of life post-pandemic.
The return of the showmen is a bonus for the town.
Plans for a summer residency were originally scrapped and then revived after a huge amount of work between the Showmen’s Guild and Fife Council
The result? Shows built to thrill. Safely.
All the favourites are back, all carefully positioned behind endless crowd barriers, adorned with signs explaining the guidelines and arrows pointing too entrances and exits.
But, despite that, it still feels rather normal, albeit just a little subdued.
The music which used to pump out from every ride has been turned down to the level of polite background noise, and no-one is asking you to scream if you wanna go faster on the waltzers.
The days of operators beckoning you forward to fill a carriage or strap in are on hold too as we all move, politely, slightly hesitantly through the first COVID-compliant fair.
The only raised voice was that of the bingo caller who had a fair crowd round his stall, each one of them marking off each number as it came up.
Just getting here has been a long haul for showmen who normally spend their lives on the road, hauling their large caravans from seaside town to seaside town, setting up and dismantling their multi-coloured rides as they go.
Their way of life has been on hold since March 2020. Burntisland may not be the first step back, but it is one of the first. And an important one too.
The town and the shows go back generations, and have pulled in huge numbers each summer.
A day riding the waltzers, playing the slot machines and larking about is a rite of passage.
The shows normally form the backdrop to the historic Highland Games, but that spectacle remains on hold for another summer at least.
This year, they have the Links to themselves.
It’s good to have them back.