…having a good time and enjoying a bit of fun has different meanings from different areas of the islands. We’ve already learned that agricultural fairs are popular and are established forms of wholesome family outings. On the other hand, piano bashing events seem to be a new development in island entertainment.
So, it was with curious anticipation and adventuresome smiles that we accepted an invitation from our neighbors to head up north for another Shetland “happening”. As advertised in the Shetland Times, “Yis, it’s time fir all da usual onkerry” at DA BIG BANNOCK in North Roe, Northmavin. With this, How could we not pile ourselves into Jeppe for a new experience?
As a background, it was told that North Roe’s yearly Bannock was an idea born around 1998 by a small group of, at that time, young men who apparently had been partying and wanted to do something different. So, they decided to bake a large “bannock”, or type of traditional scone, and generally have fun. This idea exploded into North Roe’s traditional yearly entertainment and great fun, though the men are a little older now.
On arrival, it was difficult to pin-point exactly what the Bannock was. Personally, I would describe it as a large group of people standing around waiting for something to happen. The organizers knew what they were doing. Bus loads of others were just enjoying good company and chit-chatting with a beer in their hand. Apparently, this year’s theme was “The Old West”, as organizers and some participants were dressed as cowboys or Indians. Actually, other theme costumes could be seen worn during the event. (was it my imagination, or did I see Elvis there?)
There was a kiddies tent, with games and the like as well as a locomotive ride. There were grilled styles of food, from sausage hamburgers to fried herring or scallops, available for purchase behind or inside the community building, raffles, lotteries and the commonly expected beer tent for the thirsty.
There were contests and games, of sorts! Two teams contended in a competition to see who could churn the most butter in the shortest time. Uh, not the most usual contest, but a heck of a lot of fun for the watching crowd. In a nearby field, there was the Grand Roto-Tiller Race (jordfräs), where contestants would race around a track fighting obstacles from the local fire department, who were hosing and soaking them down in water. Noted, too, was the halfway point on the track, where each contestant downed a large beer. Seemingly, a sort of spitting contest was to commence, but we regretfully had to return home and even missed the big tent dance later that evening.
Next year’s Big Bannock? Well, if you’re on Shetland, definitely make a point not to miss it! The bannock is an impressive example of enormous community effort, superb teamwork by volunteers. hard work and all the proceeds go to charity. Through the years, Big Bannock has raised more than £70,000 for different charities. This year, cancer charity CLAN is targeted as the recipient. Super fun with a good purpose in mind!
PS– Next weekend…The Burra Regatta!