The 13th Annual Galloway Football Fair takes place this weekend (Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th May) at Blairmount Park, Newton Stewart with a record number of teams taking part from right across the region plus Northern Ireland and Ayrshire.
This tournament, which is run annually by Galloway Thistle Youth Football Club in conjunction with Newton Stewart Football Club, is seen as one of the best such events in the south of Scotland and is aimed at youngsters between the ages of six and 12.
Galloway Thistle Chairman Stuart Dalrymple said: “The ethos of the tournament is ‘fun for all’ and it gives us enormous pride at the club to see the players smile, celebrate and above all show true sportsmanship throughout the games.”
For the first time the event will take place on the new 3G synthetic grass pitch which has been installed and this is sure to show off the youngsters’ skills even more.
Chairman of Newton Stewart Football Club, Andy McClymont, said of the event being hampered by poor weather in the past: “The 13th Galloway Football Fair sees a transformed Blairmount Park. Gone is the old grass pitch which served us so well for 12 fairs but also caused us a few anxious days.”
On that topic, event and coach Coordinator Alex Whiteside said: “Last year saw another very good entry but heavy rain on the setting up day on Friday meant a set of alternative pitches were marked out on the top warm-up park. With a good drying wind and mild sunny conditions greeting us on the Saturday morning, it wasn’t long before all matches resumed on the main pitch. This was the last time that grass would be played on at our festival as shortly afterwards it would be replaced by the modern 3G surface. No more water-logged areas, muddy strips or boots to worry about.”
Once again there will be stalls, burgers and light refreshments available throughout the tournament as well as a prize draw. On the Sunday Laura McGaw will present her Merit Award which she has donated for the past six years and last year the winner was Alex Whiteside. The award is made to a club or an individual who has supported the festival in an unique way and has the interests of youth football at heart and this year’s winner will be decided by the committee over the weekend.
So with all roads leading to Blairmount, the event commences at 10.30am on both days.
John McNaught, secretary of Newton Stewart Football Club said: “I have had the pleasure of beening involved with the fair since the very first one 13 years ago and it is always good to meet old acquaintances many of them returning year after year. It is also great to meet new people making their first visit to the event and I can ensure them that they may come as a stranger but will leave as a friend.”