Pipe bands, fairs and festivals offer plenty of options

What are you doing this August bank holiday weekend? Well, however you choose to spend this Saturday, Sunday and Monday, rest assured that north Northumberland and the Borders has everything you need.

When it comes to spectacular festivals, it doesn’t get much better than the Massed Pipe Band day at Floors Castle in Kelso on Sunday from 11am to 4pm.

Bands from all over the Borders will play en masse in front of a magnificent backdrop, in what organisers say is a “fantastic, fun-filled family day out at Floors Castle, with Highland games, pony rides, falconry, fly casting clinic, bouncy castle, garden games, laser clays, tractor rides, garden tours, and more.”

A feast of music – jazz, classical, swing, international, gospel and folk – is on offer from Friday through to Monday inclusive at the Crookham ‘Cafe’ Festival.

The action opens at Crookham Village Hall at 7.30pm on Friday with Swinging Jazz from the ever-popular McAllister Quartet. The following day is packed with fun, starting with the coffee morning crowning of the Cake Queen (or king) at Crookham VH.

Then in the afternoon there’s a singing workshop by VoiceQuad (£10) at Etal Village Hall followed in the evening by a concert of close harmony vocals with VoiceQuad, folk from Maddy Cawthorn and Malcolm Bennett and, of course, a licensed bar.

Sunday evening in Crookham URC sees the gamelan in full concert with the Crookham Cuckoo and friends in a performance entitled Summer Songs and Celestial Messenger. Tickets cost £8 and £3 for children.

On Monday between 7pm and 10.30pm there’s a grand ceilidh/barn dance and barbecue with the Andrew Waite Ceilidh Band and the Ragbag Morris in the barn at the Old Dairy Farm, Crookham. Tickets cost £5 (£3 for children) with barbecue and licensed bar extra.

From Saturday through Monday from 10am until 4pm every day Till Valley Archaeology Society will be unveiling the findings of their Crookham Project, a fascinating discovery of an historic village through the ages. Plus there will be a village hall craft stall.

Etal Village Hall hosts a local food and craft fair on Monday from 11am-3pm. Among the 15 local stalls will be wood turning, local jams, handmade cards, Belgian chocolates, jewellery and leather goods. Entry is free and there will be children’s games on the green outside the hall.

But there are plenty of other options this weekend. Why not enjoy all the fun of a traditional village fair in beautiful Bamburgh? Sunday’s Bamburgh Village Fair will feature local produce and crafts, antiques and collectables, jewellery and souvenirs, as well as tombola, raffle and refreshment stalls.

During the summer, many turn to their gardens for pleasure – to retreat from the world and relax in the sun, or to invite friends and family round for a barbeque, all surrounded by nature blooming in colour and abundance.

No less pleasurable is the gardening itself, creating something alive and beautiful of your own design.

If you want to enjoy more immaculate lawns, hit the fairways on any of the area’s fantastic courses. For more activity this weekend, the Borders and north Northumberland is ‘horse country’, boasting some of the best riding in Europe

You may decide to stay at home and clear the jobs stacking up on your “to do” list, such as getting that rattle in the car fixed.

A bank holiday is also the time to spoil yourself, or by treating your loved ones to lunch or dinner at one of the area’s excellent eateries. Never has it been more vital that we shop in the Borders and north Northumberland, and spend what money we have to help local businesses.

Keeping money in the local economy benefits us all: based on US research, for every £100 spent in a local business, £68 stays in the community, versus £43 spent in a national business.

The more we spend in the Borders and north Northumberland, the more local jobs we save and create, and the more local business people we inspire. So why not shop locally this bank holiday?