The highlight


The Pageant has been part of gala day and the festival from our beginnings and parading down to Leith Links it remains an important part of the day. Traditionally, the Pageant has come down Leith Walk to the Gala day on Leith Links. However, occasionally this was not possible, and the pageant has followed various routes over the years, even starting at Newhaven one year.

With the advent of the new tram system, the days of parading down Leith Walk came to an end. In recent years the pageant has set off from Lochend Park, and paraded down Lochend Road towards the Links.

The Pageant is led by the Mock Lord Provost, a light-hearted poke in the ribs to neighbouring Edinburgh (many in Leith were against the assimilation with Edinburgh in 1920).

In years gone by the pageant was made up of horse-drawn carts often sponsored by local businesses and highly decorated. Societies, clubs community organisations and schools would get involved to dress the carts and wear costumes in a bid to win the ‘best dressed’ competition. These would be interspersed with marching bands and drumming groups. Fast forward a few decades, and motorised floats became popular.
In recent years, the pageant has become more environmentally friendly, with groups parading on foot or bike (or even wearing large puppets). We encourage people to bring decorated cargo bikes and trailers, and to dress up according to the festival theme.