Those wanting to enjoy all the celebrations for next Friday's Olympic Games opening may need the planning of a marathon runner. The full schedule - including local celebrations here in Edinburgh starting at 6pm and the actual London 2012 Opening Ceremony itself - will run for six hours in total. That's assuming the opening ceremony doesn't run over time, which is unlikely given that artistic director Danny Boyle recently had to cut half an hour from the event to ensure it stays close to the scheduled three hour duration.
Plans are being finalised for the preliminary event at the big screen live site in Festival Square. An appeal has gone out to local Olympic torch bearers who took part in the flame’s long journey around the UK to join Edinburgh’s Opening Ceremony event.
The main Opening Ceremony officially kicks off in London at 9pm. Beforehand, the Edinburgh torchbearer parade will take place at 8.30pm, following scene-setting performances from Jimi the Piper, the Ceilidhdonia ceilidh rock band and Pulse of the Place samba band.
The gathering crowds will be treated to a performance by the Broomhouse Choir whose rendition of Flower of Scotland will be beamed to a global audience of around one billion people during the opening ceremony.
“Having already played a starring role in the spectacular Olympic torch relay, I’m sure our torchbearers will jump at the chance to take centre stage once again," said Festivals and Events Champion, Cllr Steve Cardownie.
“We have a great programme lined up for Festival Square, with events for all the family to enjoy and to get involved in, and would encourage the people of Edinburgh to get behind the event and to celebrate the opening of the Olympic Games.”
The Edinburgh proceedings will be compered by BBC Scotland news presenter Catriona Shearer and will culminate with live coverage of the Opening Ceremony on the Big Screen.
Similar gatherings will be taking place as part of the Olympic opening ceremony at big screens across the UK.
“It's a brilliant opportunity for us to connect with the Opening Ceremony of the Games," said Shearer.
“We have a great evening of entertainment lined up, so come along, join the party and get involved in the carnival atmosphere. Then you can say you took part in the Olympics... kind of!”
Big screen coverage of the Olympics gets underway tomorrow night (July 20) with the GB vs. Brazil football warm-up match.