Kirkardy Links Market
Kirkcaldy remains the premier funfair in Scotland, evolving from a charter granted by Edward I in 1304. The original charter allowed the staging of a trading fair in Easter week for the duration of 3 days.
The modern fair now extends to 6 days, and is key event for both the showmen and the locals to Fife. The amusements associated with the fair extend the full length of the Esplanade and into the famous 'basin', the rides and shows creating an avenue either side of the Esplanade, rather than facing out to the open sea. The Esplanade was built into its current form around 1923, existing before as a single track with little to offer in terms of enjoyment. Developments in 1956 saw the demolition of many of the old buildings facing the sea, and the construction of the new flats.
The story of the fairground at Kirkcaldy is the story of the Scottish fairground, with the prominent families of the time occupying key positions in the fair. New rides were given priority at the fair, and this continues to the modern era with showmen such as M. and D. Taylor often premiering their big thrill rides at the Links Market.
Early years around the turn of the Century saw the ornate rides of showmen such as the Wilmot and Evans families - steam driven Gallopers and Switchback rides. The years after the First World War saw the advent of exciting electric-driven rides with the huge Scenic Railways being prominent. Scottish manufacturing company Maxwells (based at Musselburgh) defined the atmosphere of the fairground from the 1950s onwards. Maxwells pioneered the famous Waltzer rides and had an eye for incredible flash and lighting. Scottish showmen soon became renowned for their Waltzer and Speedway rides and provided the 'party in motion' for the fair-going masses - a tradition maintained to the current day. The later decades of the 20th Century saw a predominance of rides from the Codona and White families, who flanked the Esplanade with immaculately turned out and lettered transport.
Recent years has seen increasingly thrilling rides being presented by showmen such as the Horne family and the partnership of Matt and Douglas Taylor. The advent of portable Roller Coasters, huge tower rides and giant travelling wheels has meant that the shoreline of Kirkcaldy is transformed into a powerful beacon of bright light and intense activity for a long week of every year.