The Games are Back in Town

Pattern Canada Stories

Written By: Pattern Stories

Summer is almost here, and the Kincardine Scottish Festival and Highland Games are making a comeback.

Tony Doherty is the President and Entertainment Director of the festival, returning for its 22nd year July 1-3.

“Our event is normally on the first full weekend in July, and this year it’ll be on Canada Day weekend,” Tony says.

A busy weekend on its own, the festival and Highland Games will add to the holiday weekend action, bringing pipe bands, food trucks, live music, vendors, a petting zoo, and competitions.

A view of the main stage at the 2018 Festival.

A Full Day of Live Entertainment

The Mudmen at the 2018 Festival

It all kicks off on Canada Day with Opening Ceremonies, followed by a full slate of live music on Saturday.

“We have quite the lineup for entertainment. Our main headliner on Saturday night is David Wilcox. Then we have Madison Violet, who is a local girl, and her friend from the East Coast. We also have The Screaming Orphans, four girls from Ireland, and The Mudmen, a local favourite,” Tony explains.
He says they try to include a variety of genres of music to give everyone something they can enjoy. You can check out the full lineup here.

Time to Compete

A pipe band performing at a past festival.

One of the main attractions is the competition part of the festival and Highland Games.

“We’re a competition festival which means the Pipe Band Association of Ontario works with us. We’re part of the competition circuit and we have 25 pipe bands that compete at the festival on Saturday, and then we have solo competitions and highland dancing at the same time,” Tony says.

Before giving out the awards, the pipe bands gather in the park to play Amazing Grace.

But that’s not all.

“We also have heavy events which take place about half a mile down the road from us. That’s where we have tossing the caber, hammer throw, and all the different Highland Games and competitions.”

The Final Day

Pipe bands come from around the world to compete at the Kincardine Scottish Festival

“Sunday is the last day, and that’s when we have the closing ceremonies. We appointed Duncan Hawthorne as Grand Chieftain for this year. He used to be the CEO of Bruce Power. He’s coming back from the UK to be the Grand Chieftain. We also have James Scongack from Bruce Power—he’s going to be our Grand Marshal,” says Tony.

Organisers say they’ve had pipe bands from Chicago, Ohio, Nova Scotia, and Scotland compete at the festival and guests coming from all over the world.

Making a Comeback

Tony estimates that about 15,000 people visit the festival each year. He expects this year to be the same, especially after cancelling the festival in 2020 and doing a virtual version in 2021.

“Everyone is very excited to get back out again, to get involved. I anticipate we’re going to do really well. Not only that, the festival will help the small businesses that have suffered over the past two years. It’ll be good to see the hotels and restaurants benefit from the event. The hotels are all booked up for that weekend, so it looks like we’re going to have a great year,” Tony says.

Learn more about the Kincardine Scottish Festival and Highland Games by visiting their website HERE.

“Everyone is very excited to get back out again, to get involved. I anticipate we’re going to do really well. Not only that, the festival will help the small businesses that have suffered over the past two years. It’ll be good to see the hotels and restaurants benefit from the event. The hotels are all booked up for that weekend, so it looks like we’re going to have a great year,” Tony says.

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