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Spectacular fireworks display lights up canal festival

A raft of visitors enjoyed a week-long programme of events and activities in Kirkintilloch.

Kirkintilloch Canal Festival: Fireworks lit up the sky on Saturday.
Kirkintilloch Canal Festival: Fireworks lit up the sky on Saturday.

Fireworks lit up the sky at Kirkintilloch Canal Festival.

Following the spectacular display on Saturday, the event came to a close on Sunday after a week of entertainment and activities.

A raft of residents and visitors enjoyed boat trips and live performances.

There was also a funfair along with bookbug sessions, roller-skating, fencing, laser tag and canoeing. Classic cars also made a pit stop.

Inspiration for this year's festival was taken from an enduring love story - stretching from Scotland to the Far East.

In love: Rita Cowan with Masataka Taketsuru.
In love: Rita Cowan with Masataka Taketsuru. EDLC Local Studies

Rita Cowan's fateful meeting with Japanese student Masataka Taketsuru took place at her home in Kirkintilloch almost exactly 100 years ago.

The spirited pair fell in love in 1919, married in 1920 and then crossed the globe to forge Nikka Whisky, one of Japan's most successful and best-known whisky companies.

Cowan - a former Lenzie Academy pupil who became known as the 'mother of Japanese whisky' - remains a legend in her adopted homeland.

As well as a 'Rita and Masataka' exhibition, there was also a range of themed activities including pottery, origami, puppet-making and manga workshops, as well as martial arts demonstrations, Japanese songs and dance.

Entertainment: A raft of residents and visitors enjoyed a range of activities.
Entertainment: A raft of residents and visitors enjoyed a range of activities.

The flagship festival, which is organised every year by East Dunbartonshire Council and a range of partners including East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Trust, Scottish Canals and the Forth & Clyde Canal Society, is estimated to be worth almost £285,000 to the local economy.

Dancing: The event brings £285,000 to the local economy.
Dancing: The event brings £285,000 to the local economy.

Councillor Billy Hendry said: "The 2019 Kirkintilloch Canal Festival was another major success.

"The weather may have been mixed at times, but that did not dampen any of the entertainment, enjoyment or enthusiasm.

"A huge thank you to everyone who helped to make it such a success, including the many officers and volunteers behind the scenes.

"The festival is one of the most popular events in the East Dunbartonshire calendar and a great example of joint-working between the council and a range of partners.

"And, of course, a massive thank you to everyone who came out to support the event.

"It is the people who make the festival. Roll on 2020."

Marina: Kirkintilloch Canal Festival takes place every year.
Marina: Kirkintilloch Canal Festival takes place every year.

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