THE Famous Alva Games is set to return next weekend, with what will be the 166th edition of the event.

Preparations are well underway to set the scene at Johnstone Park.

Spectators and competitors are expected to arrive in droves on Saturday, July 13, drawing in a massive crowd from near and far.

Visitors will be in for a vast range of events and entertainment, ranging from traditional highland games and athletics, grass track cycling, highland dancing, heavyweight events and hill races.

Ken McCaffrey, honorary life chairman for the Alva Games, has shared his excitement for the upcoming games.

He said: “This time last year, I was given the immense privilege by the Games Committee of being their Guest of Honour at the 165th Games.

“It was a truly humbling experience and is one I will never forget. There is truly something for everyone at this year’s event.

“Our objective is to provide everyone with a memorable and enjoyable day and if we manage that then we have continued to honour the memory and ideals of the founding fathers of this event back in the 1840s.”

For the 166th edition of the Games, the event has been expanded and is now bigger than ever before.

For the first time since its inception, there will now be female heavyweight events, which is new for 2024.

This follows on from the junior heavyweight events, introduced last year and proved to be a big hit with attendees.

The female events will follow the same routine as the juniors, with four events for adults to take part in and a top prize of £50 up for grabs.

Ken continued: “Last year, we introduced a junior heavyweight contest and this was extremely well received.

“This year, we are extending the programme once again by adding a female heavyweight competition and this will be run alongside the juniors with the open contest beginning thereafter.

“This has been made possible by the new sponsorship of Blair Drummond Safari Park and to them and to all of the other new and regular sponsors, I extend the thanks of the Games Committee.”

This year’s guest of honour has been chosen as Alex James Colquhoun, chairman of the Scottish section of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain.

The Guild and the Alva Games have had a tremendously strong friendship with each other, strengthened by Alex’s role at the top.

Alongside his work with the Guild, he is also currently amusements manager at Blair Drummond.

A spokesperson for the Games said: “Alva Games is particularly proud of our friendship with the Guild.

“At the turn of the century when, after a run of terrible weather, the Alva coffers were almost bare, the Guild members on site had a further collection to ensure that we would be there the following year.

“We owe them an invaluable debt of gratitude for that.

“This is Alva’s way of saying thank you to him personally but also to the wider members of the Guild with whom we hope to work positively with for many years to come.”

As part of the celebrations leading up to the Games on the 13th, organisers will be holding a primary kids football competition on Thursday, July 11.

Entries for this have closed but teams from Clackmannanshire and Stirling have entered and will be taking part.

A shop window contest is currently on going, with the theme of Chariots of Fire and Alva’s Olympics, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Eric Liddell story at the 1924 Olympic Games.

Judging for the shop window contest will take place on Tuesday, July 9, with the annual quiz night also set for the same day.

A fun fair will be set up from Wednesday, July 10 and will offer discounted fares on selected rides every day Friday evening.

This promises to be bigger than ever before and will also feature the return of the much loved Tagada ride, which has been absent from the Alva Games for several years.