In August 1984 a Largo Heritage Week was held, involving a range of events and exhibitions. The above photograph was taken at a Scots Night held on the lawn at Cardy House. Around 140 people took part in this particular event which featured highland dancing displays organised by local dance teacher Ida Ballingall. Ida can be seen in the centre of the photograph with her accordion, a portable source of backing music for the dancers. Other musical contributions to the night included harp-accompanied singing by Christine St Clair, who was there with her mother and well-known sister Isla St Clair.
The 1st Largo Brownies also played a part in the evening, under the leadership of Brown Owl, Joy Spence (standing second from far right in the photo). The Brownies served tea and some of their recent handiwork was also on display at the event. Organiser of the event, Ivy Jardine, can be seen to the left of the highland dancers, wearing a white blouse and long tartan skirt. Her eldest son Allan is on the extreme right of the picture, holding bagpipes. He played the pipes daily during the heritage week, and rounded off the Scots Night, piping from the roof of Cardy House next to the flagpole, which was flying the saltire. Below is another image from the evening, as printed in the East Fife Mail, showing the dancers in action and Ida in the right foreground, playing the accordion.
The Heritage Week began on 3 August and was officially opened by Sir John and Lady Gilmour - seen in the photograph below alongside Ivy and T.A. Jardine of Cardy House. Jimmy Shand the famous Fife-born accordion player is on the far left of back row and Professor Gordon Donaldson, historiographer to the H.M The Queen in Scotland, is in the centre (holding a piece of paper). The latter had the task of picking the winners of a heritage photography competition.
Cardy House was thrown open to the public during the week. Unchanged since Victorian times, the house had remained in the same family for many generations. With original décor and furnishings, the house also contained a fascinating collection of pictures, documents and memorabilia from across the decades. At the time, original paraffin lamps were still in use, as were five grates which required to be black-leaded. An early gramophone was in much demand during the open house, with records from 1890 to 1930 available to listen to upon request. Displays of flowers adorned the house, designed and tended by members of Leven Floral Art Club.
Among the other festivities of the week were a vintage car exhibition, an evening of Victorian poetry, an out of season Burns Night, an art exhibition in the Gillies Studio, a heritage display beneath the Robinson Crusoe statue and a disco in Man Friday's cafe. The Largo Children's Gala also coincided with the event - taking place on Saturday 4 August at Durham Park (a fancy dress procession having made its way there from the Orry at 1pm). Stalls at the Gala included smash the crockery, splat the rat and take-a-wicket. Races and 'It's a Knockout' also featured on a day of glorious sunshine. Several thousands of people attended the week-long programme of events and many local people contributed to what was a real community effort.
A heritage photographic exhibition took place in the Durham Hall, attracting many visitors, with the ladies of the Largo St David's Women's Guild providing refreshments. This exhibition included entries for the joint East Fife Mail and Largo Heritage competition. The newspaper photograph above from the East Fife Mail shows the competition prize winners.
The winner of the first prize was Margaret Smart of Durham Crescent, for her image of a friend examining an old milestone (see below). Second prize went to Craig Roberts for his close-up photograph of freshly caught fish, while the under-12 category winner was Catherine Kidd who had snapped fishing nets. With the 200th anniversary of the Crusoe Hotel building coming up next year, then the 350th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Selkirk in 2026, could another heritage week be a possibility?