A STAPLE of the Haddington social calendar for more than 50 years returns this weekend.

The Haddington Festival has been a key part of the summer celebrations in the town since it was launched in 1968.

Now, the events team, who organise the festival, are encouraging people to head along to the many events.

The festival opening parade takes place on Sunday and the festival runs throughout the week before the family fun day in Neilson Park on Saturday afternoon.

The festival returned last year after previously being scaled back or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And members of the events group are keen to find new volunteers to come forward and ensure it continues into the future. Here’s what’s on:


9am to 1pm: Court Street – Outdoor Farmers’ Market: Purchase the delights of East Lothian produced food at its best!

10am to 4pm: Aubigny Sports Centre – Table Tennis Competition: The East Lothian Open Table Tennis Competition takes place at the Aubigny Sports Centre. Open to all ages and abilities. Pop along and play or grab a coffee and watch the action. Enter at https://hadding tontabletennis.club/east-lothian-open-2023

10am: 3G Pitches, Whittingehame Drive, Football Festival: A football festival aimed at primary school aged kids. A few craft stalls, bouncy castle and slide. Teas, coffees and bacon rolls sold from the clubhouse and some food vans.

10.30am: Star Room, John Gray Centre, King Kazam Special Bookbug! Children’s author Jen Hyat will be reading her picture book King Kazam! And afterwards illustrator Cassandra Harrison will be doing an illustration craft. Tickets free, but very limited!

2pm to 3pm: Star Room, John Gray Centre, Speak Easy Open Mic Event: Wrote a piece? Want to showcase your work? Open to anyone of any age can come along and read five minutes of their work. E-mail haddington.library@eastlothian.gov.uk in advance to book.

SUNDAY, May 28

10am: 3G Pitches, Whittingehame Drive, Football Festival: A football festival aimed at primary school aged kids. A few craft stalls, bouncy castle and slide. Teas, coffees and bacon rolls sold from the clubhouse and some food vans.

12.30pm: Outside Corn Exchange, Festival Opening Parade: All of Haddington’s organisations marching through the town led by Haddington Pipe Band to the East Haugh marquee where the service will be held to mark the opening of the Haddington Festival for 2023. Service being held by Provost John McMillan.

Haddington Hero Awards 2023 – East Haugh Marquee: A celebration of our local heroes. Organised and presented by Haddington and District Community Council.

2.30pm to 4.30pm: East Haugh Marquee – Magic with Gladys Chucklebutty: Award-winning children’s magician Gladys Chucklebutty will be showing off some magic and balloon tricks from our very own marquee down at the East Haugh. Tickets £2.50. Tickets available in advance only at haddingtonevents.sumupstore.com


6pm to 9pm: Ball Alley/Riverside – Festival Boat Race and Kids Race: Starting at Waterloo Bridge and finishing at Nungate Bridge. Prizes – 1. £50; 2. £25; 3. £15. Kids races organised by CrossFit Haddington. Facepainting, inflatable rides and ice cream. Boats purchases for a random number at haddingtonevents.sumupstore.com


6.30pm: Nungate Community Centre – Nungate Gala Bingo Night: Eyes down for a night of bingo fun. First game starts at 7pm sharp. Cost - £13, which gets you the main session plus two flyers. No booking required. Turn up and enjoy.

FRIDAY, June 2

6pm to 8pm: Nungate Community Centre – Kids Silent Disco: Let your kids burn off some energy before bed by bopping the night away. Tickets £2.50 or two for £4. Tickets purchased at haddingtonevents.sumpupstore.com. Tuck shop selling juice and crisps available.

SaTURDAY, June 3

Noon: Whittingehame Drive – Festival Fun Day – Fancy Dress Judging: Extra consideration given to those who dress up in this year’s festival theme of under the sea. Judging will be on the grass verge on the north side of Whittingehame Drive and starts at noon. Prizes for 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: Whittingehame Drive – Festival Fun Day – Fancy Dress Parade: Parade to be led by Haddington Pipe Band starting at Whittingehame Drive, Hardgate, High Street, Market Street, Hardgate, Sidegate up to the Maitlandfield House Hotel then along Mill Wynd and into Neilson Park.

12.30pm: Neilson Park – Festival Fun Day: Table Tennis trial sessions – Test your table tennis trick shots and bat and ball skills at the Haddington Table Tennis Stand; Tea in the Park – Relax with a cup of coffee and food whilst watching the activities in the park; Festival Shows – A selection of funfair rides for all the family. Open from noon to 4pm; Stalls – Stalls from local groups providing you with some items to win, browse and buy; Silent Disco Tent – Come and dance and sing to your hearts content. Wristbands £2 for unlimited entry; Facepainting – Facepainting and temporary tattoos by Angela Squiggly Faces; Vintage Tunnock’s van, burgers, ice cream and sweet treats; Classic Car Display – A collection of cars from classics to future classics. Make your way around the cars and talk to the owners. Try your luck at the tombola. Organised by Edinburgh and Lothians Mini Owners Club; Lost Haddington Display – On display will be a selection of Haddington related items and photos collected over the years. If you have any old Haddington items, please bring them along to be photographed and added to the digital archive; East Coast FM – Live broadcasting and music in the park.