If, as they say, the sun shines on the righteous then the Johnshaven Fish Festival Management Group must be very, very good indeed because, with rain falling heavily not too far away, Johnshaven’s 15th annual Fish Festival once again took place in warm and dry conditions.
It is never easy to gauge how many actually attend the event but going by the number of cars parked at Lathallan School and on the village streets, the organisers estimate that a crowd in excess of 3,000 thronged the harbour area on Saturday afternoon and, from the moment the Newtonhill Pipe Band got the proceedings off to a stirring start at 11 o’clock, they all seemed to be having a really good time.
A wide range of attractive and varied stalls lined the Shorehead. Some commercial, others were fund raisers for local organisations with sea food and arts and crafts featuring prominently, as four bands and a choir performed throughout the afternoon.
Children’s needs were not forgotten with bouncy castles and other activities provided on the grassy area beyond the dock while net making and a vintage tractor display created added interest for adults. The British Red Cross was on hand to deal with any emergencies and parking at Lathallan and the shuttle bus service was managed this year by members of the Inverbervie Gala committee.
This is the fifth year that the Fish Festival has been run by the JFFMG and afterwards a member of the group, Mrs Sandra Dunbar, said that the day had been very successful. “The streets were very busy and the stallholders I spoke to all said that they had done well. Last year we lost one of our main sponsors and so were unable to donate money back to local organisations. However, we expect to be able to do so this year.”
From very small beginnings in 1997 the Johnshaven Fish Festival has become firmly established as one of the most popular events in the Mearns summer season. While consistently attracting newcomers it has its devotees who return year after year and, as the history of the festival, outlined in the beautifully produced programme, emphasises “it gives a major boost to the local economy and helps Johnshaven keep its feeling of community and distinct identity.”