Events and festivals account for a huge part in developing tourism and are playing an increasingly increasingly important role in Midlothian, writes Ian Gardner (Midlothian Tourism Forum).
Identified as a priority in the Midlothian Tourism Forum's action plan, a new events’ steering group has been formed, co-ordinated by Midlothian Council and Midlothian Tourism Forum and bringing together events organisers from across the area to plan and develop the calendar of events, and their promotion, throughout the year.
The inaugural Midlothian Heritage Week in May – another action identified in the plan – was the first to be co-ordinated by the steering group and feedback from organisers suggests that it was a great success. Given the time of year, we are now firmly in the season of Midlothian’s children’s festivals, which collectively draw huge numbers of local residents, daytrippers and visitors to Midlothian.
The children’s festivals can trace their orgins back to 1897, when processions and sports programmes were very strong elements of events to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and this was reinforced with celebrations for the Coronation of King Edward VII in 1902. Events this year have already taken place at Mayfield and Easthouses, Poltonhall and Newtongrange and this weekend sees the Gorebridge Children’s Gala Day and the start of Loanhead Gala Week, culminating in the highly successful Loanhead Children’s Day on Saturday, June 24.
More events are in the pipeline with the Dalkeith Show on July 8, the Walking Festival in August, Midstock and Doors Open Day in September and the very popular Midlothian Science Festival in October. Details, as usual, are at www.visitmidlothian.org.uk, and event organisers should email details to firstname.lastname@example.org for publicity there.
The steering group is already looking at drawing together a Winter Festival reinforcing that there are reasons to explore Midlothian all year round, so watch this space for more details and start planning more days out whatever the season!