Ahoy me hearties! The countdown is well and truly on to the Kirkintilloch Canal Festival offering a treasure chest of fun for all the family.
Thousands of people are expected to plan their voyage once again to the East Dunbartonshire’s flagship event, which begins on Monday 26 August. It will culminate in a wondrous weekend of entertainment, activities, live music, fireworks, family fun, and first-class food and drink on Saturday 31 August and Sunday 1 September.
There will be a variety of events taking place in and around the town centre - including the Marina, Peel Park, Cowgate, Regent Gardens and Barleybank.
Highlights include: Story Week (26-30 August) Including canal cruises (storytelling, whisky tasting, bubbles & breakfast, and fish tea), Mr Chipping?s Tragical History Tour of Kirkintilloch (26 August), Three Bridges 6k and Canal Running Festival (28 August), and Cue and Review will be recording articles for the visually impaired.
Get Active Saturday (31 August): Including Gin & Whisky Festival, Dojo Drummers and Clanadonia, live performances, archery, canoeing, laser tag, climbing wall, roller-skating, pirates, funfair, Water Rollerz, army assault course, Saturday evening concert (featuring Wireless), fireworks spectacular and more.
Gala Sunday (1 September): Including classic cars, market stalls, 1950s-style jump ?n? jive, live performances, laser tag, army assault course, model planes, Coppers on the Canal, silent disco, roller-skating, funfair, Water Rollerz and more. This year’s festival will blend the best of Scottish and Japanese cultures - taking inspiration from an enduring love story.
Rita Cowan’s fateful meeting with Japanese student Masataka Taketsuru took place at her home in Kirkintilloch almost exactly 100 years ago.
The spirited pair fell in love in 1919, married in 1920 and then crossed the globe to forge Nikka Whisky, one of Japan’s most successful and best-known whisky companies.
Rita - a former Lenzie Academy pupil, who became known as the ‘Mother of Japanese Whisky’ - remains a legend in her adopted homeland.
The Strathkelvin area - which includes Kirkintilloch - is twinned with Yoichi in northern Japan, where Nikka’s first distillery was created.
Kirkintilloch Canal Festival will offer up a range of entertainment celebrating the centenary of their meeting, their story and Japanese
culture: Rita and Masataka’ exhibition - 20 August to 3 October at Kirkintilloch Town Hall (free, drop-in). Whisky-tasting boat trip - raising a toast to Rita and Masataka, with a range of Japanese whiskies - on 28 August (booking required)
Other events include: Ceramics: Give It A Try Raku - 30 August at the Barony Chambers (free, booking required); Bookbug in Japan - 31 August at William Patrick Library (free, booking advised); ‘Origami Made Easy’ workshop, by Mari Itoh of Mariko Design Creations - 31 August at William Patrick Library (free); Puppet-Making - 31 August at William Patrick Library (free, booking advised); Manga Workshop - 31 August at William Patrick Library (free drop-in event); Stepps Songsters present ‘Songsters Sing Japan’ - 31 August at William Patrick Library (free)
Then there’s Martial arts demonstrations from Zanshin Kai karate club - including kobudo and karate - 31 August at William Patrick Library (free); Japanese Song and Dance - 31 August at William Patrick Library (free).
Councillor Billy Hendry, Convener of Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets, said, “Excitement is building as we sail towards the 2019 Kirkintilloch Canal Festival. I’m delighted we have been able to offer a range of events around the town centre - including attractions at Peel Park.
“The vast majority are free of charge, with a magical mix of entertainment and activities on offer throughout the town”.