History of Dunfermline Children's Gala
Over 100 years ago an event took place never before witnessed by the people of Dunfermline; the first Dunfermline Children's Gala. This set the template for an event which is now the largest of its kind in Scotland. Today, over 3,000 primary school children take part in the parade and over 15,000 people watch the parade and the entertainment in Pittencrieff Park in the afternoon.
It all began in 1902 when the Dunfermline Co-operative Society held it's first Gala, then in 1903 Andrew Carnegie and his wife paid for the Gala which wound it's way down the the High Street to the grounds of the Dunfermline Cricket Club. In 1904, with Pittencrieff Park now purchased, the parade ended in the Glen with a picnic lunch and games, much like it still does today.
This continued until the 1970s when The Carnegie Trust stopped funding the Gala and the involvement of the school teachers, who up until then had supervised the children, was withdrawn. The future of the Gala was in peril until Provost Les Wood stepped in, along with members of the community, to fight to keep the Gala alive.
They, as we do now, believe the Dunfermline Children's Gala is a part of our heritage and something which we should feel immensely proud of. It is for this reason that the Gala Committee and hundreds of volunteers work tirelessly every year to host the Gala.
There have been some changes over recent years. The Gala no longer finishes after lunch. We now organise a variety of activities and entertainment during the afternoon, including music, dancing, acrobatic displays, craft workshops, interactive workshops (including circus, drumming etc), charity stalls and kids fun fair.
The Committee have also worked hard to ensure that all of the children taking part enjoy the same experience regardless of the area or school they are from. Every child is now given a "goody bag" which includes a balloon, hat, streamers, treats, drink and lunch.
We would like to continue to improve the Gala, but cannot do this without help and support. We need local businesses to help with the funding of the Gala and become part of a tradition which generations of people have taken part in and still talk fondly of today.
In this age of modernity, it is important to remember our past and our heritage -it is after all, the basis of our children's future.