Many towns and villages across Scotland have annual gala days, bringing these areas together in a celebration of History, Culture as well as Community life.
These events are organised by voluntary committees. Historically, gala days took place in mining communities and there were often two gala days, one in May to celebrate the miners one day holiday and the other in June.
Gala days were a chance to dress up in your finest clothes. Brass bands turned out to play music for the procession of children which ended in the local park where the sporting events took place.
Today there are over 30 gala days/festivals in West Lothian and the Council offer financial assistance to help the committees each year.
East Calder Gala Day goes back to 22nd August 1919 when the West Lothian Courier reported…”The weather, although threatening at first, cleared up and turned out a lovely afternoon. The first part of the day’s proceedings was the children’s procession. The children, numbering about 300, assembled at Almondell, and were marshalled by members of the committee. Headed by Crofthead Brass Band they paraded the village, and proceeded to the sports field, kindly donated by Mr Hamilton, Raw Farm. Here they were provided with eatables and proceeded to enjoy themselves.”
Quick Gala Facts:
- The Courier records also show that the CO-OP organised the Gala in the 1950’s
- The Gala format as we know it today goes back to 1961, when it was just a one day event.
- We have Gala Programmes from 1965 to the present day.
- The mid-week events started in 1967 and became a Gala Week
- The present day committee can remember that Mansefield had their own gala in the early 1970’s
- Wilkieston was added to the East Calder Gala in 1981.
- The 3 way split parade was introduced in 1984.
- We celebrated our 75th Anniversary in 1995.
- The famous East Calder Pram Race last ran in 1998.
- We reintroduced the Gala Queen in 2010 after an absence of nearly eighty years.
- The official Gala Programme delivered free to all householders started in 2014.
- Wilkieston name dropped and “District” added after the Calderwood development started in 2015.
Gala Day Photo's:
See a selection of photographs from recent Gala Days in our Gallery.
Former Gala Queens:
1928 - Daisy Samuels
1929 - Charlotte Peffers
1930 - Elizabeth Martin (Hurren)
1931 - Christina Wilson
1932 - Gracie Lightbody
2010 - Sarah Kinghorn
2011 Zoe Swain
2012 Hannah Dickov
2013 Lucy Millar
2014 Milly Crawford
2015 Ruth Jensen
2016 Zoe Harvieu
Future Gala Days:
Sat. 10th June 2017
Sat. 9th June 2018
Sat. 8th June 2019
Sat. 13th June 2020 (Centenary Year)
Sat. 12th June 2021