Throughout the decades, Alford has maintained its strong sense of community and tradition, and this weekend is no different when the village hosts its Christmas festival.
Festive magic will be sprinkled across the village and nearby Haughton Park on Sunday as the community comes out for the Christmas lights parade.
As the village gears up for the biggest weekend in its calendar, we’ve taken a look through the archives at pictures of Alford over the last 115 years.
Memories of Alford in 20 pictures
Although a growing community, it remains the same at heart.
The village sits within the Vale of Alford, an area of fertile ground with a proud and enduring agricultural heritage, near the River Don.
Alford’s farming tradition is a familiar thread through the Press and Journal archives.
There are photographs of ploughing matches and readers’ pictures sharing memories of happy times at agricultural dances.
Alford is famously the home of the Aberdeen Angus cattle breed, an accolade formally recognised with the unveiling of a life-sized bull statue in 2001.
The now-King Charles and late Queen Mother lead the ceremony such was its significance.
Alford took homeless dog to its heart
But the common theme among Alford over the years is the sense of community and the strength of its volunteers.
Although, one famous of its most famous residents in the 1960s was a stray dog.
In 1969, the village took the plight of Petra (presumably named after the Blue Peter pooch, for readers not of a certain vintage) to its heart.
A full-page story in the P&J said “there’s hardly a man, woman or child in the Donside village of Alford who hasn’t heard of Petra”.
The poor pup turned up homeless and nameless at the town’s vets, where the vet’s wife Ella Stewart took pity on her.
Petra’s story passed quickly around the community and the family was inundated with donations.
She became somewhat of a local personality beloved by schoolchildren. But that wasn’t the end of the tale.
Petra was destined to become a guide dog, and the community formed ‘The Petra Group’ to raise cash for her training.
Pupils washed teachers’ cars in return for donations, the elderly sold knitted items, and the Brownies held sales.
In the end, so much money was raised that the group raised enough to train Petra and an additional guide dog.
Vintage transport continues to attract visitors to village
From four legs to four wheels, the community is also the home of vintage transport in the north-east.
Grampian Transport Museum opened 40 years ago in 1983, and is still one of Aberdeenshire’s most popular attractions.
Alford has become a rural haven for transport enthusiasts of all ages, and has provided a sanctuary for vintage vehicles.
This weekend the transport museum will join in the festive fun by hosting the Santa run and Elf mile-long dash.
While a welcome return to Alford this year is the community railway, which reopened this summer.
For months, a band of dedicated volunteers worked to repair and restore the narrow-gauge railway line, the station and steam engine.
Now the railway is back operating at the heart of Alford, ferrying visitors between the village and nearby Haughton Park.
The station will also feature in the festivities with a visit from the Cairngorm reindeer herd on Sunday.
Another popular Christmas tradition in Alford is also being revived for Christmas this year – the Santa train.
Many adults will have nostalgic, childhood memories of the Santa Express, and it is set for a glorious return next month.
Haughton Park to host festivities
The railway terminus, Haughton Park, will also play a role in the Christmas festival this year.
Families who venture to the country park will find Santa’s Grotto, a fairy trail, food market, entertainment, and the opportunity to meet miniature donkeys and pygmy goats.
Haughton Holiday Park has also recently undergone an upgrade, with the historic house brought back into use as accommodation.
The mansion and grounds were once the seat of the Farquharson family, before it became a hotel then convent in the 20th Century.
Its ownership passed to the county council in 1970, and the nearly 40 hectares of woodland and parklands are now enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
The caravan park has continued as a separate, successful entity bringing holidaymakers to the village year round.
The sporting tradition of Alford
Another new addition to Alford towards the end of last century was the golf club, which opened as a nine-hole course in 1982.
It was thanks to efforts of volunteers – and salvaging old school buildings from Aboyne – that made the opening of the golf club possible.
Another favourite, and seasonably-appropriate, sporting archive photo features the Vale of Alford Curling Club.
The club was founded around 1875 and, nearly 150 years later, curlers still meet to compete on the Haughton Pond during the winter months.
Alford Christmas festival runs from 11am to 4.45pm on Sunday, but for more information and timings, visit the facebook page.