THE annual Musselburgh Festival came to a successful end at the weekend as a party atmosphere hit the town for the fancy dress parade, family fun day and traditional Saturday Rideout.

Residents rallied round in force, both as participants and spectators, to support the fancy dress parade after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The procession moved off from Pinkie Road on Friday evening before heading down Newbigging and onto Musselburgh High Street, where large crowds gathered to cheer everyone on.

PICTURE GALLERY: Musselburgh Festival fancy dress parade

After crossing the bridge, participants went along Bridge Street and North High Street before heading down Harbour Road onto New Street towards Fisherrow Links.

Festival Saturday was the climax of Festival Week as the community gathered to see the Honest Lad carry the Burgh flag around the boundaries of the town in celebration of a tradition that dates back many centuries.

The official party, led by the chief marshal Graeme Innes, moved off first from Balcarres Road, making their way to Pinkie House for the traditional scroll presentation.

At 9am they rode out of the gates of Pinkie House to be met by the rest of the cavalcade, accompanied by the town band, local councillors, guests and Border visitors.

The riders forded the River Esk at the Roman Bridge and made their way through Whitecraig and Wallyford before returning to Musselburgh for the beach gallop.

The 2022 Honest Lad Jack McFarlane and Honest Lass Amy Rooke led the Rideout, which saw the Burgh flag returned to Councillor Andy Forrest, Depute Provost of East Lothian, on the steps of the Old Town Hall at the end.

Musselburgh Racecourse hosted a family fun day, which attracted around 5,000 people, after the Rideout.

Radio Saltire broadcast live, with a variety of music enjoyed, as well as fun and games for all ages.

'Fun for the whole family'

Alison Elgin, in her last year as president of festival organisers the Honest Toun’s Association, said that her main aim before she handed over the reins to a successor in November was to see the return of the festival after the Covid-19 crisis.

She was delighted that the annual event was successful and praised everyone who helped make it possible, including marshals, paramedics, Police Scotland and East Lothian Council.

“There was a good mix of fun for the whole family while retaining the traditional elements of the festival,” said Alison, who took over as president in 2017, overseeing the appointment of a trio of Honest Lads and Honest Lasses.

She paid tribute to local haulage company Andrew Black Ltd for supplying lorries as floats for the parade.

“The parade was amazing. There were four bands and everyone had a ball,” said Alison.

“It was great to see so many people celebrating the end of the festival.”

The traditional festival ball at the Brunton Hall was also well attended on Saturday night.

Preparations are now under way for the 2023 event and Alison said it would be up to the new president and revised committee to see what might be changed and what would stay the same.

“I am pleased to get the association through two years of Covid,” she said.

Alison praised “dedication and commitment” of the committee members, who are all volunteers and take time out for the festival, even “sacrificing summer holidays”.

“I would like to thank everyone I have worked with over the years,” she said.

Alison added: “On the whole, I have enjoyed being president, which gave me lots of chances to meet people and, being a past Honest Lass myself, share the experiences of three Honest Lads and three Honest Lasses, as well as engaging with the community as much as I could.

“People have been very supportive and kind.”

She is now planning to enjoy her position as a past Honest Lass for a few years during festival week.