Living Lerwick is running the Fair Isle Festival in Lerwick town centre from Sunday 4th August to Saturday 10th August. Living Lerwick is owned, run and funded by the businesses in Lerwick Town Centre and focuses on improving Lerwick town centre for everyone.

The Fair Isle Festival kicks off at noon in the King Harald Street play park with a “Fair Isle Family Cycling Parade” ending at Victoria Pier. Anyone can join in – as long as they wear a bit of Fair Isle! The Shetland Community Bike Project will be open and have bikes available for hire on the day. It’s something a little bit different and sure to be a bit of a laugh, come along and join in the fun!

The Living Lerwick street market will be in Harrison Square and during the Fair Isle Festival it is open from 12 – 4 on Sunday 4th and from 11am – 5pm Monday to Saturday. It will be the first street market in the town centre with an ever-changing selection of products from existing and start-up local businesses.

An up to date list of street market traders during the Fair Isle Festival is on the Living Lerwick website. A market stall will be used as a Living Lerwick information point throughout the event. RSPB will also have a stall where they will co-ordinate children’s activities such as their Find the Furry Animal competition.

The street market will consist of up to ten market stalls and regular markets are planned for the future. Living Lerwick is looking for a large variety of local traders. If you have anything you’d like to sell on any of the proposed dates, we’d like to hear from you, so fill in an application form and send it in. The application form and details of future dates and prices for stall hire are available at

Living Lerwick gained grant funding for the capital costs of the street market (stalls and trailer) from the Awards For All Lottery Fund. All other costs are covered by the income from traders and administration is provided by Living Lerwick (which is funded by town centre businesses).

Thordale Shetland Stud will have the two famous Shetland ponies in their Fair Isle jumpers in the town centre from 1pm to 3pm on Sunday 4th August. The ponies are very placid and can be stroked by members of the public.

Boots will be repeating the success of their charity dunk for Macmillan Cancer Support at 2pm on Sunday 4th.

Live music from Da Shanty Yellmen and a rare performance by the Papa Stour Sword Dance will take place at the market cross on Sunday 4th August between 1pm and 3pm. Various live music performances organised by Oxjam and Amaree Music will also take place throughout the Fair Isle Festival. Anyone who wants to busk in the area is also welcome. The last activity within the Fair Isle Festival will be the Oxjam big Buskathon, which will take place on Saturday 10th August.

72% of the public Living Lerwick surveyed said they would like shops in the town centre to have better opening hours. The majority of shops have agreed to open on Sunday 4th from 12 to 4pm and late from Monday to Friday as part of the shopping week during the Fair Isle Festival. These retailers are also running various special offers to tempt customers in.

With these extra opening hours, the Fair Isle Festival will provide a good opportunity for customers to demonstrate their preferred times for shopping. Retailers can then judge whether or not it makes good business sense to open late or on Sunday. So, show the retailers what you want and shop when it suits you. Who knows, at the end of the festival, if retailers have seen that it’s worthwhile for them, we might even see a trend for extended opening hours in the town centre.

Retailers have dressed their windows to fit in with the Fair Isle theme for the festival and other events running at the same time such as the Viking Congress, International Nordic Textile Festival and Fiddle Frenzy. You may even see staff wearing their Fair Isle too!

Shetland school children were asked to decorate flags to be used for bunting in the town centre. Living Lerwick are very impressed with the co-ordination of all the Shetland schools and the response to this as 1,514 individually decorated flags were received. The flags certainly prove that there are some very talented young artists in Shetland. The SIC Bridges Project laminated all the flags and then they were sewn to bunting tape by Living Lerwick directors Eleanor Eunson of Boots and Emma Gibson of the Peerie Shop. The bunting has been hung along the street and will be part of the street decoration for the Fair Isle Festival and beyond. A list of where each schools flags have been hung is available on to make individual flags easier to find. If you have a young child, you could come to the Fair Isle Festival to give them an opportunity to show you the flag they made.

The businesses are doing their bit to make Lerwick town centre better but that’s only half the story – the Shetland community needs to play their part too. So why not come to the Fair Isle Festival and join in? Let’s work together to make Lerwick town centre better for everyone!

Photo: © Ben Mullay Photography

Back left to right: Living Lerwick Directors Ken Rae (J.G. Rae), Ben Mullay (The Camera Centre), Steve Mathieson (Visit Scotland),

Front left to right: CU Marketing staff (Living Lerwick management contract) Christena Irvine and Leigh-Ann McGinty, Living Lerwick Directors Gemma Jamieson (Specsavers) and Cynthia Adamson (M & Co.)

Directors missing from the picture are: Eleanor Eunson (Boots), Emma Gibson (Peerie Shop & Cafe), Harry Jamieson (Harry’s), Hazel Wiggins (Lodberrie Deli & Sweet Memories), Inga Scott (The Stage Door), Ingrid Webb (Shetland Soap Company) and John Watt (Thulecraft)

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