Council set for talks with showmen in bid to find a way to allow Burntisland Fair to go ahead
Fife Council officers are set to have further talks with showmen in a bid to find a way of allowing this year’s Burntisland Fair to go ahead.
Talks took place this afternoon (Wednesday) and afterwards the council issued a statement which said: “Following the officers meeting today, the Council are now in further talks with the Scottish Section of the Showmen’s Guild in relation to Burntisland Fair 2021.”
The move comes after the operators of Burntisland Fair expressed their anger and disappointment earlier this week as they claimed they had not been consulted in the decision to cancel this year’s event.
The local authority issued a statement last week saying that due to the uncertainty around coronavirus restrictions and the planning time required, it had made the difficult decision to cancel the event.
But Philip Paris, president of the National Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain, hit out at the decision claiming the Scottish section of the guild was not asked for its input about the possibility of cancelling the 2021 fair.
Mr Paris said: “There has been a distinct lack of consultation this year. There have been emails asking for the guild’s opinion on it going ahead and it was discussed at a meeting of the Scottish section and they were of the opinion it should go ahead at the earliest opportunity that restrictions allow. We had also offered assistance to comply with any measures to make it safe.
"Then the next we heard was that the council officers had taken the decision to cancel the fair. This wasn’t done with our consent. The fair normally runs from the last weekend in May, which we know is still too soon, to the middle of August, but even if we got the end of June, July and a little bit of August it would be some business for us. We would be happy to run it this year and put whatever measures need to be put in place and if it isn’t fit for purpose we can pack up and go away again. But we need to be given the chance.”
Burntisland butcher Tom Courts said: “My wife and I had the pleasure of eating out at four indoor hospitality businesses last week where sensible protocols were in place and it was nice to see some normality return. Why then can an outdoor event, four weeks away, not take place? In April I can sit in a restaurant with 80 other diners for two hours but in June I won’t be able to take my granddaughter to Burntisland Links for a shot on the Big Apple and Hook a Duck! It’s a travesty the show people won’t be able to do likewise.”
Alex MacDonald, chairman of the Royal Burgh of Burntisland Community Council, said: “It’s a massive disappointment. We’re hearing about event organisers elsewhere planning for a steady return to normal, albeit with precautions in place. It takes a bit of creativity and is not without risk, but given the pace at which vaccinations are being delivered it seems to be worth exploring in rather more detail.”
Following the talks, Alex Colquhoun, chairman of the Scottish Section of the Showmen’s Guild, added: “As it stands the event is still cancelled, but we are hopeful that during the upcoming discussions we can find a solution that covers all Covid restrictions and allows the fair to take place in some form.”