Falkirk’s annual celebration of the arts gets underway on Saturday with organisers promising that this year’s event will be the biggest yet.
The Tryst Festival line-up includes music, theatre, dance, magic, exhibitions, seminars and family shows.
The event involves community and professional groups from across the district and further afield, and prides itself on offering something for everyone.
And for the first time, the beginning of the festival will be marked on Saturday with a parade along Falkirk High Street to Callendar Park.
The procession, featuring live bands, street performers and dancers, will depart from Falkirk Town Hall at 1.30 p.m. and arrive in the park at around 2.20 p.m.
Stalls will be set up along the High Street to mark Voluntary Arts Week, and activities will be held in Callendar Park throughout the afternoon.
That evening, Larbert Operatic Society will stage the final night of ‘Follies’ at the Dobbie Hall, while the Forth Bridges Accordion Band will perform at Bo’ness Town Hall.
The Tryst Festival will be officially opened on Sunday in Falkirk Town Hall when the Falkirk Festival Chorus will present the ‘The Armed Man’, a “mass for peace” written by Karl Jenkins. The members of the chorus will be accompanied by the Scottish Concert Orchestra, including soloists Rhona McKail, Raoni Hubner and Nicholas Morris.
The festival is organised by Falkirk Arts and Civic Council, with support from Falkirk Community Trust and Falkirk Council.
Barbara Hammond, honorary secretary of the arts and civic council, said: “This year, there is even more to see and do. It’s not to be missed.
“Falkirk is en fete for a fortnight.”
On Monday, trivia fans will have the chance to put their knowledge to the test at the annual Top of the Town Quiz. Teams of four are invited to take part and try to beat the stalwarts among the Arts and Civic Coun- cil.
The quiz begins at 7.30 p.m. in Falkirk Town Hall, and teams can register on the night.
If you prefer gentler pursuits, the prize-winning Falkirk Floral Art Club has invited William Dixon, from Bury, to present his latest fresh flower demonstration, entitled ‘Just William’, in Falkirk Town Hall.
An evening of story telling and poem recitals will take place on Tuesday as Falkirk Writers Circle host their annual Words & Music night.
Youngsters will strut their stuff on Wednesday evening at Cheers for Creative Schools. Tickets for this show are expected to sell out, so early booking is advised.
Falkirk Folk Club is staging no fewer than five shows during the festival. Folk at the Fest will be held in the Tolbooth Tavern on Friday, May 17, a fiddle workshop, as well as a children’s music workshop, will be held in the FTH Studio on May 18.
During the festival’s second week, Bo’ness Operatic Society present ‘A Circle of Music’ in Bo’ness Town Hall from May 21-24, and Falkirk Art Club will stage its annual exhibition in Falkirk Town Hall from May 20-26. The exhibition is free and works on display can be purchased.
The festival will draw to a close with the spring performance from The Tryst Orchestra, with the main performance being Burke’s ‘Scottish Fantasy’.
For a full list of festival shows and stage times, visit www.trystfestival.org.uk. Tickets can be bought in advance from The Steeple box office in Falkirk High Street.