No hot air balloon, but hopes still high for Summer Festival

Helensburgh Summer Festival organisers have been dealt a blow with the unavoidable cancellation of the visit by the Remax hot air balloon – but say there are some great new attractions to add to the mix in its place.

Graeme Houston, the pilot of the Remax Hot Air Balloon, has been involved in a serious head-on road accident near his home in Biggar and as a result the balloon will not be appearing at the Summer Festival.

Graeme’s two sons were lucky to escape without injury but Graeme was not so fortunate and his injuries mean that he will be unable to pilot the balloon for several months at least.

Helensburgh and Lomond Chamber of Commerce board member Roger Ferdinand said: “We wish Graeme a speedy recovery and hope that we can feature the balloon at a future event.

When looking around the gallery of sculptures, each child will be able to appreciate everyone else’s work; but point to his own with pride and say: “I made that!”

“All attempts to find a replacement pilot or balloon have proved fruitless and therefore it is with great reluctance that the balloon flights have been cancelled.”

The sand sculpting workshops which are being sponsored by, and held at, M&T Builders Merchants yard in Charlotte Street are proving popular with bookings for the workshops on July 19 and 20 coming in fast.

They promise to be a great opportunity for youngsters to have a load of fun peppered with a little magic and a good serving of learning.

The sculptors will teach the children and their families the tricks of the trade so that they’ll be able to make sand stand like a snowman and be carved into a castle.

Participants will go away at the end of the day with a knowledge that will help them and the people that they will teach in the future, to make superb sand creations.

But if you are not lucky enough to grab a place at the sand sculpting workshops you can still get in on the act with Sand Art in Colquhoun Square, brought to Helensburgh by Party Palz.

Budding artists can have a go at making their own sand art pictures to take home with them, and Party Palz will also be bringing along some very well known characters to meet their fans! Party Palz will be in Colquhoun Square from 10am on Saturday July 19.

Any youngsters keen to work off some energy can try out the CBF Tennis mini tennis in the square from 10am to 1pm or netball with Helensburgh Netball Club from 1pm to 4pm.

Also in the square there will be a market with local businesses and a farmers market, with a barbecue being provided by the Buffet Shop from noon to 4pm.

The roller rink will now be sponsored by Helensburgh Toyota
The roller rink will now be sponsored by Helensburgh Toyota

Down on the front there will be the Your Radio Sound stage with a great line-up of entertainment, a fire engine (Saturday only), a Royal Navy RIB and of course the Roller Rink which is being fully sponsored by Helensburgh Toyota who gamely stepped in when another sponsor let the organisers down.

The rink will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday and there will be displays by Glasgow Roller Derby at 10am, noon, and 3pm on Saturday.

Codona’s fairground rides will be open at the pier car park throughout the festival and Waverley fans will be able to see the world’s last seagoing paddle steamer in all her glory as she comes in to the pier at around noon on Saturday.

On Wednesday evening SOS Fitness will be running their Ricky Hatton Boxing class in Colquhoun Square and the evening will be open to anyone over the age of 15 who would like to try it out. The class will begin, regardless of the weather, at 7pm and run until 8pm.

The following weekend there will be another Farmers Market in the Square on the Saturday (July 26) along with a Victorian tea room in a festival tent and another Buffet Shop barbecue.

And there will also be a Victorian children’s chair o’ plane ride in the square to provide a little traditional ‘doon the watter’ excitement.

The Summer Festival Craft Fair run by Visit Helensburgh will be open for business in the Tower (the former St Columba Church).

Sailing enthusiasts will be able to watch the Commonwealth Flotilla sail past on its way to Glasgow between 9am and noon on Saturday, with more than 250 boats promised.

And throughout it all there will be the Commonwealth Flags competition going on in businesses and shops around the town as well as a best dressed shop window competition.

A spokesman for the Summer Festival said: “Despite the disappointment over the hot air balloon we are delighted with the way the festival is shaping up and we hope that as many people as possible will come along to join in the fun.

“Keep an eye on our Facebook page, Helensburgh Summer Festival, for any updates.”