St Monans Sea Queen regains her magic sparkle

Caitlan Duncan began her reign as St Monans Sea Queen on Saturday and the burgh must have been relieved that the crowning glory of the day was the sun.

An incredible amount of work goes on throughout the year for this gala occasion but the harbourfront festivities have had to be abandoned a few times in recent years with rain forcing fun and tradition indoors.

Sea Queen Caitlan Duncan and her attendants

Sea Queen Caitlan Duncan and her attendants

That does tend to take the sheen off what is very much an outdoor event and while Saturday morning saw clouds and drizzle, the afternoon brought a return to form.

Stalls were lined along West Shore with the area in front of the middle pier providing the main platform for the programmed attractions.

Patricia Shafren, St Monans Primary’s head teacher, and Councillor Donald Macgregor shared the duties as masters of ceremony, introducing a string of demonstrations and performances.

With the Milnberg Jazz Band providing the soundtrack to the day, there were competitions for a decorated potted geranium, children’s art and fancy dress.

Then on, or in front of, the stage, there were dance displays, a martial arts demonstration and a selection of songs from the St Monans Primary’s choir.

As the clock neared 3.00 p.m., the masts of the Reaper could be seen over the outer harbour wall as the Fifie drifter ferried the Sea Queen and her party into the safe haven of the harbour.

Joining Caitlan on board was Fisher Lass Keira Moore, attendants Nadia Wood and Darshan McTague, and page boy Josh Hutchison.

Ready to greet them on the pier was the newly-formed Sea Queen Guard of Honour from the school, and a piper, who led the royal party along the pier and on to the platform.

Lucy Kilbane, the 2013 Sea Queen, performed the crowning ceremony before Queen Caitlan – a fourth year pupil at the Waid – gave the traditional address to the village and her best wishes to all those who make their living from the sea.

After a presentation to the local lifeboat crew, she then oversaw the presentation of the James Braid Good Citizen Award – presented, in memory of former Provost James Braid, to a resident in recognition of his or her community efforts.

This year’s recipient was Colin Wilson, who is involved in many aspects of village life.

The citation was read by Councillor Macgregor and a quaich presented by community council member Peter Copland.

With the procession again led by a piper, the Sea Queen, attendants and guard then made their way along the harbourfront to end the formal part of the afternoon’s programme.

The platform was then handed over to the acclaimed, and much-travelled, St Monans Community Choir which performed a selection of songs all with a nautical theme.

The St Monans Sea Queen event is the oldest such gala day in the East Neuk and Sunday morning brings another tradition – the Kirkin’ ceremony. After a parade along the Braehead, the Sea Queen and the Church of Scotland minister, the Rev Dr Peter Mills, performed the ‘Sea and Land’ ceremony on the bridge over the Inverie Burn before a service in the Auld Kirk.

This was followed by a visit to the Bield Housing complex at Abercrombie Court on the return journey, before a buffet lunch at the Mayview Hotel.

That brought the curtain down on highly successful weekend and a key event in recognising the burgh’s proud maritime tradition.