THOUSANDS of programmes for the Haddington Festival have been delivered to homes throughout the town as events get under way this week.

The celebrations, usually held annually, have not taken place for the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but organisers have been working since January to ensure that the town has a memorable summer celebration.

Chris McEwan, chairman of Haddington and District Community Council, said that there was a “dedicated core” of volunteers in the Haddington Events Group who had put together the programme, which runs from Saturday to next Saturday (June 4).

He said: “The festival is essential to the town.

“It gives the chance for the town to come together to enjoy a day on the Saturday, but not only that but do it over the week.

“We put on a lot of events and other groups do that as well.

“It gives everybody the chance to participate in something.

“Take the tennis club, they do try-outs during the week and it gives people the chance to do something new and find out about things in the town that they maybe did not know about.”

East Lothian Courier: The Haddington Festival returns to the town after being sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic

This year's festival theme is Kings and Queens

The last Haddington Festival took place in 2019, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing the event to be cancelled in both 2020 and 2021.

Restrictions relating to the global pandemic have eased but Mr McEwan revealed that there were still issues when it came to organising this year’s event.

He said that a lot of those who provided entertainment in previous years had either changed career or retired.

Despite the challenges, he was looking forward to welcoming people from throughout the town and beyond to the festival, which this year has a kings and queens theme.

About 7,000 programmes have been printed, with deliveries made to homes throughout the town and programmes dotted about in businesses as well.

The programme for this year’s festival is as follows:

Saturday, May 28

  • 9am-1pm: Haddington Farmers’ Market – Court Street: A selection of locally sourced produce at a variety of stalls.
  • 10.30am: John Gray Centre – jubilee fancy dress Bookbug: Advanced booking necessary; wear prince or princess fancy dress costume if possible.
  • 10.30am: John Gray Centre – Tim’s Terrific Tales with Tim Porteus: Join local raconteur Tim in the museum for an interactive storytelling session for the whole family.
  • 1-2pm: John Gray Centre – ancestry hour: family and house history advice: East Lothian Libraries’ local history officer Dr Hanita Ritchie will give brief sessions of advice and answer questions to anyone who is starting or is in the process of researching their family history.
  • 2pm: John Gray Centre – history talk and special author event – The History Behind Game of Thrones: The North Remembers: Author David Weinczok speaks about a vast array of characters, events, places and themes from Scottish history that are echoed in the world-famous A Song Of Ice And Fire series of novels and its television adaptation Game of Thrones. E-mail to book.
  • 2pm: John Gray Centre – history talk ‘Royalty in East Lothian’: Neil Fraser from Historic Environment Scotland will help celebrate all things royal, including images of royal visits to East Lothian over the years. The talk runs from 2pm to 2.45pm and is free to attend but places are limited so book at the library.
  • John Gray Centre – create a crown and a sword: Crowns are still worn by kings and queens all over the world. To help celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, youngsters can decorate a crown or sword in the library.
  • John Gray Centre – create your own family tree: Collect a craft sheet from the museum desk and have fun designing your family tree.
  • John Gray Centre – castles and knights scavenger hunt: Collect a sheet from the library desk to help in a quest for castles and knights.
  • All-day event: Festival open fours tournament – Haddington Bowling Club: £20 per pair. Limited to 24 entries. For information and to book a place, contact Chris Brock via the Haddington Bowling Club Facebook page.

Sunday, May 29

  • 9.30-3.30pm: table tennis competition – Aubigny Sports Centre: The East Lothian Open Table Tennis Competition takes place at the Aubigny Sports Centre. Open to all ages and abilities. The competition is played in groups, so those taking part are up against players of the same ability. Enter at
  • 12.30pm: Festival opening ceremony – parade of organisations: All the Haddington organisations march through the town to the East Haugh marquee, where a service will be held to mark the official opening of the Haddington Festival for 2022. Service held by Alison McDonald (St Mary’s Parish Church) and Liz O’Ryan (Holy Trinity Church). The parade will be under the direction of Mike Lyndsay. Haddington Pipe Band will lead the parade. The parade will halt at the war memorial to lay wreaths, which have been donated by Erica’s Florist.
  • Haddington Hero Awards – East Haugh marquee: A celebration of the town’s local heroes. Awards for outstanding adult volunteer, outstanding volunteer group, outstanding young volunteer, special person who went above and beyond their paid duties, and the outstanding citizen award by Rotary Haddington.

Monday, May 30

  • William Purves annual over-55s triples competition – Haddington Bowling Club: Details and booking forms from Raymond – 07944 677841.

Wednesday, June 1

  • 10.30am: Festival Bookbug and nature trail – Lady Kitty’s Garden: Wear princes and princesses fancy dress costumes if possible.
  • 4-5pm: Junior hockey festival taster sessions – astro pitch, Aubigny Sports Centre: A taster session available to try out hockey for the juniors.
  • 4-5.30pm: Petanque – Lady Kitty’s Garden, Ball Alley: An opportunity for members of the public to experience petanque with members of the U3A (University of the Third Age). Very basic instruction will be provided and there will be the opportunity to play the game. All equipment will be supplied.
  • 6-9pm: Haddington Events Group boat race and activities: Starting at Waterloo Bridge and finishing at Nungate Bridge. Boats £1 from the organisers at Tesco on May 28 or on the night. Prizes: 1st £50, 2nd £25, 3rd £15.
  • Haddington Events Group – Tug of war: Free for all ages. Boys v girls, dads v mums, pubs v clubs. Those wanting to take part can show up on the day and show off their pulling power.
  • Haddington Events Group – Children’s races, organised by Crossfit Haddington: A light-hearted fun competition for all ages.
  • 7-8pm: Ladies (14+) hockey taster sessions – astro pitch, Aubigny Sports Centre: An opportunity for ladies aged 14 and over to try out hockey for the first time.

Thursday, June 2

  • 6.30pm: Nungate Gala bingo night – Nungate Community Centre: Eyes down for a night of bingo fun. First game starts at 7pm sharp. Cost £13, which includes the main session and two flyers. No booking required.

Friday, June 3

  • 7-10pm: Haddington Events Group quiz night – Masonic Lodge, Hardgate: The annual festival quiz night offers everyone the chance to give their brain a workout. Teams of four – £10 per team. Prizes given out on the night. Book a team by emailing

Saturday, June 4

  • 9am-2pm: Festival of football, Haddington Athletic Youth Section – Whittingehame Drive: A festival of football takes place; during this time, the younger age groups of the youth section will take part in fun 4s and 5s against other East Lothian teams. Barbecue, home baking and cafe facilities will be open. Support welcome.
  • Noon: Haddington Events Group Festival Fun Day fancy dress judging and prize giving – Whittingehame Drive: Extra consideration given to those who dress up in this year’s festival theme of kings and queens. Judging will be on the grass verge on the north side of Whittingehame Drive and starts at noon sharp. Prizes for the best dressed individuals, best dressed groups, and best dressed method of transport in the categories of pre-school, 5-10 years, 11-16 years and adults.
  • 12.30pm: Haddington Events Group Festival Fun Day fancy dress parade – Whittingehame Drive: Parade led by Haddington Pipe Band, starting at Whittingehame Drive and going along Hardgate, High Street, Market Street, Hardgate, Sidegate up to the Maitlandfield House Hotel, then along Mill Wynd and into Neilson Park.
  • From 12.30pm: Haddington Events Group Festival Fun Day – Neilson Park.
  • 2-5pm: Tennis open day: All ages and abilities welcome at the tennis courts at Neilson Park.
  • Table tennis trial sessions: Everyone can test their table tennis skills at the Haddington Table Tennis Club stand in Neilson Park. Pop by for some fun games, trick shots and maybe even pick up a ping pong prize.
  • The festival shows: A selection of funfair rides for all the family. Open from noon until 4pm.
  • Tea in the Park – By the Haddington Events Group: A chance to relax with a cup of coffee and food while watching all the activities in the park. The stalls from local groups will be located in this tent.
  • Coastline Falconry: Coastline Falconry is the largest travelling owl display team in Scotland. Everyone can view the birds on display and get their photograph taken with them. An aerial display will be held at 3pm (weather dependent).
  • Edinburgh and Lothians Mini Owners Car display. A collection of cars from classics to future classics, on show from noon to 4pm. Those interested can make their way through the cars and talk to their owners, as well as trying their luck on the tombola. Anyone wanting to display their car or join the club can contact the club via
  • Silent disco tent: A chance for everyone to dance and sing away to their hearts’ content in their own world.
  • Stalls: Stalls from local groups providing attendees with some items to win, browse and buy.