The start of the school summer holidays signals the count down until the beginning of largest and most recognised festival in the West of Scotland, Marymass.
Dating back hundreds of years, this historic event is based upon a medieval horse show and festival and has grown and developed over the years to incorporate the whole town into celebrating the traditions and heritage of their town, and boy do the locals know how to celebrate!
Over the decades Marymass has grown in popularity and the festival is now staged over 12 days, with several major events taking place in the medieval centre of town, accompanied by over 100 smaller scale events to create a unique medieval but modern feel to the festival.
This growth in popularity has reached far beyond the locals, and Marymass now attracts an estimated 20,000+ visitors to the festivities, most attracted by the chance to sample the sheer variety of attractions in one place.
Centuries on from the one day horse-drawn parade, the 12 day festival continues to celebrate the horse theme with a spectacular day long parade around much of the Royal Burgh of Irvine, with colourful floats and a variety of music and cultures on display.
This is but the start of the day’s celebrations, with the crowning of the Marymass Queen, carthorse racing at the historic Irvine Moor racecourse, teams attempting to scale the greasy pole, funfair and so much more.
This all takes place on the main day of celebration, which this year will be held on Saturday 24th August. Events begin to take place from 8am and run right throughout the day and in to the night.
Whilst Marymass Saturday is the main draw for the 20,000+ visitors, there are well over 100 events taking place in the town throughout the 12 day festival.
Other events taking place include the Opening Ceremony and torchlight relay, selecting of the Marymass Captain, Forth Port Parade, Festival of Light Parade, Fireworks Display, Marymass Folk Festival, Marymass Flower Show, Irvine Football Derby (Meadow vs. Vics), Marymass Dog Show and Closing Ceremony to name but a few.
Other events such as kids shows, comedy gigs, bowls competitions, live music, DJ sets and running races are all scheduled to take place too.
For detailed historical information on our beloved Marymass Festival, visit the Irvine Carters Society website!