It’s that time of the year again, the annual creative insanity and commitment to no-holds-barred competition on all fronts that is Furnace Gala Day – Saturday 25th August 2012.
They say: ‘International competitors from as far afield as Crarae, Minard and even Inveraray will converge on Furnace to take part in some of the most hotly contested Argyll events of the year.
‘You’ll forget about Usain Bolt when you see out over 30s football match team. A finer body of men has not been seen since the relief of Mafeking.
‘The fire service has been put on high alert as competitors in the men’s baking competition prepare for the day.’
Last year, this very competition, on its inaugural outing, was a show stealer so the bar is set pretty high for both cake and wit.
With all those international competitors in mind, the day starts with a nod to Gallic je ne sais quoi – petanque and coffee in Callum Train’s garden at 9.00am.
After that the action shifts to the Village Hall in the centre of the village, for more competition in the Village Show.
This runs the gamut from flower fruit and vegetable displays; a reprise of last years surprise hit for village juniors – their displays of Garden Beasties – pests and friends alike; primary kids baking; the men’s baking – and all bets are off as to what may emerge from this second time around – all entrants competing for the coveted Ronnie Dodd Rolling Pin; photographic competitions; and a new mush challenge for the junior mosh pit: ‘the marshmallow and kids ‘Chubbie Bunny’. Don’t ask.
Part of the texture of the event is the legendary Bottle Stall and village kids will never be the same again after the face painting extravaganza.
Competition judging is at 10.30, after which all entries are auctioned. from 11.30 on there will be a selection of pizzas (a new departure) served form the kitchen, with tray bakes, sandwiches, tea, coffee and soft drinks.
This is designed to sustain the village heroes for what is to come.
The football pitch on the shores of Loch Fyne on the edge of the village is the gladiatorial arena from which only the victorious emerge.
At 2.00om there’s the junior football match – sorry, international test – between Inveraray and the Furnace-Minard combo; and at 2.30pm the scene gets heavy.
This is the over 30s versus the under 30s footie showdown- and if you think our namby pamby post imperial culture has tossed away the spirit of competition, be in Furnace on 25th August if you want to remember how it used to be – from the safe place of spectating. Personal abuse of players is proscribed and the teams are playing for what is described as ‘the not so coveted Furnace Stores Gala Shield.
Furnace’s own modern triathlon then goes to its finishing point of madness – the wheelbarrow hill climb race. After the baking and the football, only the best have the legs left for this one. But at 4.00pom it will run its course from the Health Centre to the Fish Farm.
The wheelbarrow race acts as the pied piper, leading spectators to the Fish Farm Barbeque and Disco. This is a Bring Your Own Bottle affair, with the disco finishing at 10,00pm.
Sunday 26th August will be a very quiet day.