The Fireball Ceremony is Stonehaven's unique way to welcome in the New Year and greet friends and neighbours. As the midnight chimes ring out on December 31st, approximately 40 men and women parade up and down the High Street swinging fiercely flaming balls around their heads.
The fireball festival takes place on Hogmanay, the 31st of December. Moments before the old Town House bell chimes midnight, welcoming in January 1st, the music of a small pipe band is heard. Fireballs are lit and swingers emerge from the street leading to the harbour, helping to speed the Old Year on its way and to herald in the New in ancient style with a highly dexterous performance.
The Fireballs start at midnight but the Street Entertainment starts at 11.00pm. A few hardy souls arrive at 9.30, but the majority of spectators arrive between People start to arrive from 10.00, with crowds really gathering from 10.30. Do not leave your arrival to the last minute, as we have to close access to the High Street when we reach capacity. This can happen any time after 11.00pm.
Allow extra time if you are taking a car, as parking can become a problem. There are no special parking arrangements. Just park on the streets in the main town area. Normal parking restrictions apply.
The street entertainment is usually a Pipe Band and street drummers. At the end of the ceremony (usually around 00.25) fireworks get set off from the road above the harbour to the south, well worth waiting for - these can be seen from all around the town - you don't need to be at the harbour - just look south.
There is no entry fee for visitors coming to watch the fireballs ceremony and tickets are not required.
There is an opportunity to make a donation when you enter the event, and these donations help Stonehaven Fireballs Association with the costs associated with running the ceremony.
All donations are very gratefully received.
Stonehaven Fireballs Association
23:00 on 31 December