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Oban’s biggest street fair took place at the weekend, with the sun finally making a late arrival after what was a bit of a wet start.
Jim Edge, of Oban and Lorn Lions Club, which organises the popular annual event, said: ‘It has been a great day. The sun came out late – it was a bit like Brexit it was on European time and was an hour later.’
Station Square and Queen’s Park Way were packed with stalls, with around 40 charities and communities group taking the opportunity to raise awareness and vital funds for their projects. And the Oban community came out to support them in huge numbers.
There was a real buzz around the Alzheimer Scotland stall where dementia adviser Sue Pagan had opted to have her head shaved to raise money for the charity. Money had already started coming in through a Just Giving page, and on Saturday Sue said she thought they had raised close to £1,000 so far.
Sue had 379mm of hair taken off, with the pigtail being donated to the Princess Trust. They also ran a ‘Guess the length of the pigtail’ at £1 a guess, with Maureen Drummond guessing correctly.
Sue told us: ‘I first decided I would do this in November – I used the app to see what I would look like with my head shaved. Fortunately, my head is reasonably shaped and my ears are quite small and close to my head. I had to go back to the car to get a hat due to the sun, because I was worried about getting sunburned – and this was the only one I had!’
The various charities and community groups all offered information, games, raffles and plenty of fun in a bid to help them raise the cash they need to keep their services up and running. And volunteers on the stalls all agreed, the afternoon had been busy, and the Oban community had done them proud.
Rob Chipchase, of Oban and Lorn Lions Club. said: ‘The stall has been really busy and staff have been rushed off their feet, which is the usual. The kids love trying to win a cuddly lion, coming back again and again.’
Other stalls included Seed for Life, Feed for Life, a new project set up by Netherlorn churches. The project is aiming to raise £10,000 by September so that seeds can be bought to help 20 parishes in Bemvu, Malawi, grow their own food. Profits from the harvest will help buy seeds for the following year, but also will help fund a meals programme in Bemvu primary school, similar to Mary’s Meals.
Oban Mountain Rescue were on catering and kept everyone fed during the afternoon. Marie Porter was helping out on the burger stall. She works at SAMS and has been part of the team for a year, but has only just joined the call-out list.
She said: ‘So far I’ve attended two call-outs, one to rescue a dog on Ben Cruachan, and a lady with a broken leg near Dalmally.’
Oban FM was also on hand during the afternoon with music and chat from the team.
Towards the end of the afternoon, Mr Edge said: ‘We are the catalyst for the fundraising – it will have been worth it if everyone made £100 apiece.
‘I want to say a big thanks to everyone on the taxis, because they were brilliant and we couldn’t do without their help.
‘If people have enjoyed the day and would like to offer more support, why not think about becoming a club member or if they would like to just come along and meet us, they can email email@example.com.
‘The next big event is the raft race on August 5.’
With so much effort put in to decorating stalls and to the adult and children’s costumes for the parade, Oban and Lorn Lions Club decided to give the following prizes:
Best dressed stalls – 1. Oban Inner Wheel, shield and £25; 2. Spotlight Musical Theatre Group, £10; 3. Argyll Animal Aid, £10.
Best dressed groups in parade – 1. Oban Rainbows (Mermaid Mayhem), shield and £25; 2= Diabetes UK, St Columba’s School (The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party), and Soroba Young Families Group (The Wizard of Oz), who each won £10.