Fan­tas­tic range of events for fes­ti­val

The Oban Times - - News - SANDY NEIL sneil@oban­times.co.uk

CLOOTIE dumplings, Vic­to­rian dress, science trea­sure hunts, the Three Wee Crows and a cas­tle light show are just a few of the high­lights at this year’s Oban Win­ter Fes­ti­val, which starts in a fort­night.

The 10-day fes­ti­val pro­gramme cel­e­brat­ing Oban’s unique cul­ture and com­mu­nity be­gins with Santa’s pa­rade and Christ­mas lights switch-on on Satur­day Novem­ber 19, when or­gan­is­ers will un­veil a 12ft steel ab­stract sculp­ture in­spired by McCaig’s Tower to mark this Year of In­no­va­tion, Ar­chi­tec­ture and De­sign.

Satur­day also sees the Oban Win­ter Fes­ti­val Vic­to­rian mar­ket at the Rock­field Cen­tre from 11am to 4.30pm, sport­ing ‘a magic mix­ture’ of 15 Vic­to­rian cos­tumes fash­ioned by Marie Rowan and Gail Brack of Mary’s Meals in Oban.

‘It is up- cy­cling at its best – noth­ing gets wasted,’ said shop man­ager Marie, adding that mak­ing Vic­to­rian cos­tumes has be­come ‘a wee tra­di­tion for us. It is lovely to get in­volved. It looks like a panto in my house. We are all bonkers.’

That Satur­day the fi­nal-year stu­dents on the Marine Science De­gree at the Scot­tish As­so­ci­a­tion for Marine Science (SAMS UHI) also present sci­en­tific pro­jects through games, quizzes, trea­sure hunts and sto­ries dur­ing a fes­tive-themed open day in the Ocean Ex­plorer Cen­tre at Dun­staffnage.

Vis­i­tors can get crafty by mak­ing their own oceanin­spired Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions and gifts, as the marine science stu­dents pro­vide en­ter­tain­ment through their project dis­plays: it’s a fun way of ex­plor­ing se­ri­ous marine is­sues such as ocean acid­i­fi­ca­tion, marine plas­tics and seaweed.

A food and craft mar­ket fol­lows in the Cor­ran Halls on Sun­day Novem­ber 20 from 11am to 4pm, when the cham­pion of the win­ter fes­ti­val’s first clootie dumpling com­pe­ti­tion will be crowned. Please hand your wrapped dumpling on a pa­per plate into the Cor­ran Halls at 10.30am for the judg­ing to start at 11am.

The Three Wee Crows Theatre Com­pany fea­ture twice in this year’s win­ter fes­ti­val, firstly on that Sun­day even­ing in the Ar­gyll­shire Gath­er­ing Halls, when they will per­form their ac­claimed pro­duc­tion of Home Fires, Bro­ken Sons.

Sup­ported by Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil for their First World War com­mem­o­ra­tive pro­gramme, this tells of life in the towns and vil­lages of the west of Scot­land while the men­folk were fight­ing in the ‘muddy, bloody’ trenches. Tick­ets are avail­able at the door, or pre-book on 01866 833 455.

Then on Satur­day Novem­ber 26, the Three Wee Crows will join Rock­field Cen­tre’s Her­itage Tours re-en­act­ing tales of life in Oban in the 19th cen­tury. Book­ing is es­sen­tial and can be done through Tick­et­source.

The story of Dunol­lie Cas­tle will be shone onto its walls in a light show on Tues­day Novem­ber 22 at 7.30pm. The ‘flam­boy­ant’ even­ing of light dis­plays, sto­ry­telling and mu­sic, called ‘Telling the Cas­tle Story’, cel­e­brates the com­ple­tion the £257,000 con­ser­va­tion work to the south-east and south-west walls. The light show, which will be pro­jected onto the outer walls of the 15th- cen­tury tower, has been cre­ated by a group of lo­cal young peo­ple aged 13 to 19 who have been work­ing to­wards earn­ing a Na­tional Arts Award through Dunol­lie Mu­seum, Cas­tle and Grounds.

The young peo­ple, men­tored by the fes­ti­val com­mit­tee’s Louis Bar­row, have re­searched an­cient ob­jects from the cas­tle and have cre­ated the light show based on their own in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the his­tory through a va­ri­ety of sound record­ings, il­lus­tra­tions and film. It will be ac­com­pa­nied by sto­ries of cas­tle chiefs and pip­ing tunes in­spired by the MacDougall Clan of Dunol­lie, as well as a com­pli­men­tary pie and Scotch broth taster in­cluded in the £12 ticket price, avail­able from Dunol­lie re­cep­tion booth dur­ing open­ing hours.

As this will be an out­door event it is ad­vised all guests at­tend­ing wrap up warmly, and the path to the cas­tle is fairly steep and there­fore rel­a­tive fit­ness is re­quired.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the fes­ti­val and all the events, visit oban­win­ter­fes­ti­val.com/ events/

Louis Bar­row is de­sign­ing a 12ft ab­stract stain­less steel sculp­ture of McCaig’s Tower, with the help of Oban and Lorn chil­dren.

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