SCOTT’S Selkirk will shrink to a day only this year.
Organisers of the weekend event, which began in 2000 to boost town trade during December, will extend the Saturday (December 1) – but have cancelled the following day.
The chairman of Scott’s Selkirk, Maister Tommy Combe, said: “It has been talked about for a while. I was against it, but the committee thought there wasn’t so much going on on the Sunday and we are going to put more on the Saturday.”
The Georgian-themed fair’s committee took the decision in May. Members plan to reduce the number of stalls from 43 over the two days to 30 on the Saturday, confining them to the Market Place, with tunnel tents for more street entertainers and musicians along High Street.
Tommy added: “We don’t want to confine Scott’s Selkirk to the Market Place. It’s for everyone in the town, including all the shopkeepers – that’s the whole idea of bringing people to the town to spend money here.”
The hours of Meg Dodds’ Kitchen will be extended into the evening with entertainment – a combination organisers hope to prove is a winning formula.
The popular eatery – which will stay open to 7.30pm rather than 4.30pm – is set up in The Hermitage gardens, but the building is for sale.
Tommy said: “If The Hermitage is sold we have lost a very important venue, but there is a possibility we could move across the road to the parish church.”
There will also be entertainment at the County Pend and re-enactments in the courtroom as usual. And the Sunday night firework display will take place on Saturday instead.
Tommy explained: “Scott’s Selkirk is losing quite a lot of income because we will have less stalls and we are only on for one day. I’m not happy about it, but I have to go with the majority.”
The opening ceremony will take place at 10am on the Saturday.
Meanwhile, plans were revealed at Monday’s community council meeting to create a permanent shelter at the County Hotel car park.
Councillor Jim Gibson presented the idea as an alternative to the temporary covered stage hired by Scott’s Selkirk to keep its entertainers and musicians dry.
Jim said: “Scott’s Selkirk have to bring in scaffolding every year to the car park of the County Hotel, but with this they would not need to do that and the hotel would not be compromised. It could be used by other organisations such as the Regeneration Group. It would save money in the long run.”
Tommy told the meeting: “Trond Dalby and Will Haegeland (the County Hotel’s owners) said they would be delighted, provided events were not on in the car park all the time. And they would even consider tarmacing it.”
Jim added: “The old cobbled stone (pavement) area could be left open and made into a feature.”
Community council planning spokesman Iain King pointed out that the County Hotel was in a conservation area and therefore the proposal could face problems, but added that it was a “great idea”.