Every June, the Marchmont community hosts the Meadows Festival, a weekend of food stalls, live music, stalls and sports. It takes place on Saturday and Sunday on the grassy areas known as “the meadows”, is free and is perfect for the whole family. This years event took place on 2 and 3 June in almost perfect weather, and as they are only a stones through away from our flats we were there soaking up the atmosphere.
The event has been going since 1975 and has been running every year since (apart from a brief break in 2005), and each year even more stalls are joining and more events are taking place. There are the usual antique and trinket stalls, as well as pottery, books, CDs and clothes. That’s before you get to the numerous stalls selling hotdogs, burgers and drinks. One of the highlights for me was the Marshmallow Lady who has had a stall there for the last few years. They aren’t like marshmallows you’ve tasted before – and the flavours range from vanilla to Key Lime Pie (think cheesecake but on a marshmallow).
A lot of the stall holders are small, independent retailers like the stall below who were selling brownies – this picture caught our attention as it was a bit quirky. While we never got a chance to sample the brownies they did look delicious. Hopefully they’ll be back next year!
As you can see from the pictures below, the weather was lovely. On nice days the Meadows is a great place to relax, and last weekend was no exception. At the festival there are plenty places to sit, have lunch and watch the many events which take place. This year there were two live music stages providing entertainment into the evening.
One nice touch of the whole weekend was that in conjunction with SHRUB all leftover food was collected from the stallholders and donated to local charities.
History of the Meadows
Whilst we are talking about the Meadows, it’s worth having a quick look at their history. They actually started off as a loch (known as ‘burgh loch’) until it was drained in the mid 17th century. Thankfully they can never be built on due to an Act of Parliament bill passed in 1827. Despite now being part of the city, this wasn’t always the case and surrounding Marchmont was a village in its own right for a number of years – animals were even grazed on what is now the Meadows. Sports have always been played on the Meadows, indeed Hearts and Hibs (the two local Edinburgh teams) used to play here before moving on to more permanent grounds. The Meadows also played a part in the war effort, when 500 allotments were created in the east end – these were popular and weren’t removed until the 1960s.
Other events at the Meadows
Of course the Meadows isn’t just home to this festival. Whilst locals use it for impromptu games of rugby, football and cricket, it also plays host to a number of larger events. The Meadows Marathon takes place each year and is run by local students and features 5K, 10K and a full marathon, with any money raised going to local charities. Given its proximity to the many venues, the Meadows is one of the host venues for the Edinburgh Festival, such as the annual Fringe Sunday. It is also the venue for the start and finish of the Edinburgh Moon Walk, an annual event involving 12,000 walkers raising money for breast cancer research and treatment
On a day-to-day basis it’s also great for families as they are the perfect place for games of frisbee or football (as are the nearby Bruntsfield Links). There’s also the option of tennis at the Edinburgh Leisure courts, as well as a children’s play park with swings and multi-activity compounds. Bruntsfield Links is also home to the oldest short-hole golf course.
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