Tag Archive: Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games

  1. The Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games

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    It doesn’t get any more Scottish outside of Scotland than the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games. And you don’t have to be Scottish to enjoy this celebration of cultural heritage.

    Organizers call this festival experience “Scotland without the airfare.” That sums it up nicely. Celebrating Scottish heritage, culture and sport, you’ll be immersed in the sights, sounds and flavours of Scotland.

    Get here! Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games take place from August 12th to August 14th, 2022. Come tilt yer kilt!

     

  2. We put the ‘festive’ in Festivals

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    Lots of places host world-class festivals, but in Elora and Fergus, we host THREE. That’s right, three epic festivals in the span of two months. And when we throw a party, the world shows up.

    From international musicians and performers, dancers, athletes and the party-goers who know this is the place to be, people travel from all over to come to take part in our epic festivals. You should too.

    Prepare to extend your stay. As we like to say: We put the festive in festivals.

    The Elora Festival

    Now in its 43rd season, the Elora Festival has expanded our musical horizons as Canada’s international choral festival. Celebrating a diverse spectrum of musical experiences and genres, including classical, international music, jazz and folk, and featuring Canadian and international artists, this festival has put Elora on an impressive musical map.

    The Elora Festival, opening night at the Gambrel Barn. Submitted photo

    In previous seasons, the Elora Festival has drawn renowned talent, from the Vancouver Chamber Choir, the Trinity College Choir, the State Choir LATVIJA and lyrical legends like Gordon Lightfoot, Holly Cole, Sarah McLachlan, Jesse Cook, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Randy Bachman, Ben Heppner, Chantal Kreviazuk, Natalie Macmaster and Measha Brueggergosman.

    The Elora Festival takes place over three weekends from July 8 – 24, 2022. This season promises to fill our hearts with music. With local venues including the iconic Gambrel Barn, St. John’s Anglican Church and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, in Fergus. During the Elora Festival weekends, Music in the Village performances will take place for free at Green Space in Elora, on the corners of East Mill and Metcalfe Streets.

    The hallmark of the festival is the ensemble-in-residence, The Elora Singers, one of Canada’s finest professional chamber choirs, under the helm of Mark Vuorinen, artistic director and conductor of the Elora Festival. This season The Elora Singers will launch the festival with a performance of Bach B Minor Mass, and perform Evensong. They will also perform with two of the festival’s guest artists: Sarah Slean and the Canadian Brass.

    When the Elora Festival is on, Elora sounds beautiful. For the full line-up of artists and performances visit www.elorafestival.ca

    Riverfest Elora

    Gather your friends and head down to the river for three awesome days and three epic nights of more than 50 of the hottest acts you’ll see at any music festival anywhere, ever. Seriously. Riverfest Elora is literally the coolest ticket in town.

    From August 19th to 21st, Riverfest Elora turns up the amps and gathers the masses to dance beneath the summer sun until the stars blanket the night skies and the stage lights cascade over the crowds of thousands. It’s a sea of happy souls dancing together. We call it being a #RiverFriend. You can be one of us too.

    Check out the some of the best big name Canadian bands, international headliners, indie acts and eclectic performers you may not know yet, but you will. Careers get launched here. But you’re thinking small town, small festival, right?

    Riverfest Elora in 2016. Submitted photo

    Nope. Riverfest Elora is a BIG deal. Here’s just a few of the acts that have rolled into town in the past years of the little festival that has grown to welcome the likes of City and Colour, Monster Truck, The Sheep Dogs, The Beaches, Blue Rodeo, Arkells, K.Flay, Carly Rae Jepsen, Dear Rouge, The Flaming Lips, K-OS, A Tribe Called Red, July Talk and more. So many more.

    This year’s line-up includes headliners Alessia Cara, The Glorious Sons, Mother Mother and more than 40 performers. It’s going to be a good time.

    Take it all in from the beautiful greenspace of Bissell Park in the heart of Elora, on the edge of the Grand River.

    Riverfest Elora celebrates all the charm of the village that hosts the epic music festival, respecting the environmental impact and offering fresh, clean water from the Water Buggy. This year, enjoy local beers and ciders in recyclable cans. There are food trucks that bring flavourful creations to keep everyone happy, an Artisan Alley to check out some fine artisan creations and some very cool outdoor art to make the whole scene just that much more unique. Seriously. It’s that cool.

    Head down to the river and dance with us. It’s a good time. All #RiverFriends welcome. For this year’s line-up, tickets and more visit www.riverfestelora.com.

    The Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games

    Ya dinnae have to be Scottish to take part in the best celebration of all things Scottish this side of the pond, because if you love great music, serious athleticism, dancing and the sound of bagpipes and drums, and perhaps a wee dram of Scotch (whisky), you’ll enjoy never forget the fun you had at the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games, from August 12-14th, 2022.

    Organizers call this festival experience “Scotland without the airfare.” That sums it up nicely. Celebrating Scottish heritage, culture and sport, you’ll be immersed in the sights, sounds and flavours of Scotland.

    From the tradition of the Friday night Festival Tattoo, a moving welcoming procession that welcomes the gathering of the Clans. Follow that up with lively performance by The Red Hot Chili Pipers who will be sure to tilt yer kilt on opening night, sure to have everyone dancing.

    Everywhere you look there is an experience to be had at the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games. Bring the whole family and join in the traditions of ancestry, representation from over 40 Clans, a heritage tent for storytelling, everything you need to trace your Scottish roots.

    The McKiddie’s Centre will make the wee ones happy with crafts and hands-on activities.

    With vendors selling wares from near and far, you’ll enjoy them in amongst the food vendors that bring the flavours of Scottish fare here. You don’t have to eat haggis, but you know … when in Fergus. Why not? Of course, the beer tents are always a great place to relax with old friends and new ones.

    Music is a celebrated part of this festival. Take in the competitions in Highland Dance and the Pipes and Drums, and more. As you walk the grounds, the sounds are alive with the patter of drums and the haunting melodies of the bagpipes. You’ll swear you’ve been transplanted to the Highlands of Scotland. There is nothing quite like it.

    If you’ve never seen someone toss a caber, a hammer or a sheaf, what are you waiting for? Because if you have witnessed the spectacle and the fun of the crowd’s enthusiasm as some of the biggest and strongest athletes you’ve ever seen, (in a kilt, no less) set to the task of serious competition, it’s truly something to experience. People travel from across the globe to compete in Fergus. The competition is fierce, but lifelong friendships are made here.

    Come join in the fun of the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games. We’ve got something for everyone, Scottish or nae! (Kilts optional, but strongly encouraged). www.fergusscottishfestival.com

  3. Four seasons. Two towns. One awesome destination.

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    We don’t do boring. This is a place where there is always something to do, something to see, somewhere to go. Where do you want to start?  Pick your season. We’ll give you a reason to come explore Elora and Fergus. And hopefully, we will inspire your return trip too.

    We’ve assembled a few of our favourite seasonal events, the annual fun we never miss. But we love to be spontaneous too. You just never know what impromptu event will come up, but we know you’ll want to be there, so for current event listings, dates and locations, visit our Events page.

    Spectacular Spring

    When the thaw of winter gives rise to daffodils and the hearty crocus, the waters of the Grand River rush with the melt of snow and the earth comes alive again. Fergus and Elora are beautiful places to shake off the winter and step into spring.

    The Grand River makes it way through downtown Fergus.
    Photo by Kelly Waterhouse

    The trees and flowers bloom, making our trails a beautiful place to see the birds, get outdoors and get some exercise. And soon, the sun will warm the waters of Belwood Lake and the Grand River. The fish will be biting, which will make those who fish our waters very happy. Ah, Spring. You’re beautiful here.

    • National Tartan Day is a pub crawl, only with way better clothes. Got a tartan? Wear it. Or borrow one and join in the fun. Be prepared to tilt yer kilt and travel from pub to pub with your pals and more than few bagpipers. www.downtownfergus.com
    • Check out Insights 2022 – Juried Exhibition of Fine Arts, the longest running regional juried art shows remaining in Ontario. This exhibit is on at the Wellington County Museum, on until June 19, 2022. www.insightsart.ca
    • The Elora Vintage and Antique Show is a treasure hunter’s bounty of unique finds and nostalgic pieces, everything from jewellery to vintage fashion, fine dishes and home décor, plus collectibles of art, culture, memorabilia and more. The event runs April 9-10, 2022 at the Elora Community Centre. www.antiqueshowcanada.com
    • The Wellington County Writers Festival will be held at the Wellington County Museum and Archives on April 23, 2022. Enjoy readings by local authors, meet book vendors, and enjoy storytelling and activities for young readers too. www.wellington.ca
    • Book lovers, bargain hunters and collectors never miss the Elora Festival’s annual Giant Book Sale. It’s a page turner. Book worms gather May 6-8, 2022 at the Elora Curling Club. www.elorafestival.com
    • We’re as pretty as a picture. Watch the inspiration unfold right on the canvass during the Elora En Plein Air, May 19-22, 2022. You’ll find artists at beautiful locales around town and scattered around our beautiful landscapes.  www.elorapleinair.ca
    • Take the bait. Cast off in the 40th annual Belwood Lions annual Pike Derby, from May 28-29, 2022. There are prizes to won and tall tales to be shared. www.belwoodlions.org
    • When the spring air warms the ground, The Elora Farmers’ Market returns to Bissell Park with fresh locally grown produce, meats and sweet treats too. Seriously, you’ll meet the best people here. It’s basically a social gathering with great food. Beginning May 7, bring your own bags and come be a part of our special community every Saturday morning until late October. www.elorafarmersmarket.com
    • Get in on the action when live Standardbred Harness Racing returns on June 3 to the Grand River Raceway, with live racing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights all summer long, until September 26, 2022. Get to the rail and cheer! grandriverraceway.com
    • The Elora Gorge Campground opens with 450 seasonal camp sites. This campground features the adventure of tubing through the park on the rapids of the Grand River or taking the younger kids to the splash pad to enjoy some water fun.
    • Fergus Fibre Festival Calling all knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, and anyone interested in Ontario wool and fleece. Sponsored by the Fergus BIA, the Fergus Fibre Festival is an annual event that takes place the last Saturday in May in downtown Fergus. You’ll find fibre farmers, yarn dyers, and accessories makers excited to showcase their quality yarns, rovings, fleeces, and handcrafted accessories.
    fly fishing fergus
    Fly fishing on the Grand River, east of Fergus. Photo by Bill Longshaw

    Sweet Summer

    Ah summer, the perfect time to visit Elora and Fergus. You can bask beneath the summer sun by the emerald waters of the Elora Quarry or stretch out on the sandy shores at the Belwood Lake spring-fed quarry. Bump through the white waters of the Grand River or fly fish in the cool streams.

    The Elora Quarry Conservation Area Photo by Kelly Waterhouse

    You can rent a bike, go for a hike along the Elora Cataract Trail, or paddle a canoe or take your sweetheart for a gondola ride along the Grand River. Picnic among the sunflowers of the Fieldstone Barn or the in the greenspace of the Elora Centre for the Arts. Summers here are full of possibilities.

    The Elora Cataract Trail Photo by Bill Longshaw

    We are home to three of the best music and cultural festivals you’re ever going to find in one area, all in the month of August. Come for one or stay for all.

    If you enjoy choral and classical music, we’ve got that. The Elora Festival brings the world to our small stages.

    Riverfest Elora rocks out Bissell Park for three days and nights of incredible live music, with a line-up of bands you won’t believe, drawing in thousands of music lovers to party riverside.

    And for an entire weekend, people from around the world descend on Fergus to celebrate all things Scotland. Whether you can claim Scottish heritage or just want to claim it for the weekend, get to the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games.

    opening ceremony

    You simply can’t beat that our festivals. Seriously, you can’t.

    Yes, it’s the perfect time to visit us. The patios are open. The water is cold. The happenings are hot. You won’t even believe all the ice cream we have here. Best of all, shopping is always in season.

    • The Elora Centre for the Arts is the site of two-day juried art show and sale, now in its 18th year: The Creative Spark in the Yard. Featuring over 50 artisans, the outdoor show is an opportunity to meet the makers and buy unique art pieces. July 9th-10th www.eloracentreforthearts.ca
    • Rent a tube and float along the Grand River, through the Elora Gorge Conservation Area or between Fergus and Elora.  It’s a rite of passage. You almost must have to do it to say you’ve been here. That’s a dare. www.grandriver.ca / www.elorarapids.com
    • River Bug rides are a thing. And don’t you want to say you’ve been on a River Bug? Sure you do. www.eloraraftrides.com
    • Travel light. When you visit here, rent a bike or canoe in downtown Elora, then venture out to see the trailways and riversides out to Fergus. www.elorapaddlecompany / www.eloratandembicyclerental.com
    • Bring your blanket and stretch out in Bissell Park to enjoy live theatre with Shakespeare in the Park www.eloracommunitytheatre.com  Performances run August 5th – 14th, 2022.
    • Enjoy Sunset Concerts at the Museum with live performances weekly taking place on Thursdays evenings all summer long at the Wellington County Museum. www.wellington.ca
    • Rock on! Gather your friends and head down to the river for three epic days of Riverfest Elora. Aug. 19-21, 2022 It’s not your typical musical festival because this isn’t your typical venue. This is good vibes all around.  www.riverfestelora.com
    • Tie and fly. If you’re into fly fishing, or have always wanted to try it, there is simply no place better to experience this sport. The fishing here is second to none.
    • The Elora Festival brings world-class music right to our doorstep over three weekends each summer, celebrating the best of choral, classical and jazz performances, including the Elora Singers. July 8-24, 2022 www.elorafestival.ca
    • Every swam in an old quarry? Go for a swim in the spring-fed quarry in Belwood, with sandy beaches and a shallow area for kids. Or head to the Elora Quarry Conservation Area, a former limestone quarry with deep emerald waters surrounded by steep cliffs, with a sandy beach. Both locations operated by the Grand River Conservation Authority. www.grandriver.ca
    • Live music by the river makes the Twilight at Templin concerts every Wednesday night all summer long a family-friendly night of relaxation and great music under a late summer sun. www.downtownfergus.com
    • Step back in time as you walk through downtown Fergus for the Fergus Medieval Faire on July 23, 2022. Lords and ladies, knights and maidens, performers and entertainers all vie to impress the King and Queen. Come enjoy the vendors, the feasts and the tradition of the Fergus Medieval Faire.  Armour optional. www.fergusmedievalfaire.ca
    • The hallmark event of Grand River Raceway’s racing season is Industry Day, always held on the Civic Holiday Monday. The event is highlighted by two prestigious races, The Battle of Waterloo is Grand River Raceway’s signature race, featuring Ontario-sired two-year-old pacing colts. The Battle of the Belles is a companion race contested by Ontario-sired two-year-old pacing fillies. Make a day of it. The action is thrilling. www.grandriverraceway.com
    • It doesn’t get any more Scottish outside of Scotland than the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games. And you don’t have to be Scottish to enjoy this celebration of cultural heritage. Three full days of fun and festivities. Come for a day or come for a weekend. Kilts optional. www.fergusscottishfestival.com
    • Our love of the automobile keeps the annual Wellington County Museum and Archives’ Antique and Classic Car Show polished and revved up and it’s quite the spectacle to see all those classic cars, muscle machines and trucks lined up across the big lawn. August 28, 2022. www.wellington.ca  
    • Bright yellow sunflowers in bloom, tall stalks of corn rustling in the breeze and rich orange sunsets sliding down the horizon make for beautiful views at The Fieldstone Barn, on the edge of Elora. Pack a picnic and enjoy the splendor of the countryside within walking distance to town. You’ll find plenty of Instagram-able moments here. Tour the Corn Maze and wander the labyrinth under the summer sky. You can even glamp in comfort and stay the night under the stars. And oh boy, do we see the stars here. Check out all the events planned for this unique destination. www.thefieldstonebarn.com
    Riverfest Elora 2016 shot of the crowd
    Riverfest Elora crowd on a summer Saturday night. Submitted photo

    Awesome Autumn

    Fall in love with autumn here. Our landscape is a spectacle of crimson reds, bright yellows, oranges and deep greens made all the more spectacular along our trails, riverbanks and the caverns of the Elora Gorge.

    The waterfall in Bissell Park, Elora Photo by Bill Longshaw

    As we celebrate the harvest season, it’s also a time of hometown traditions and community celebrations. We’re happy to share the bounty of the season. We also highly recommend you get the kid’s out of the city to learn about their rural roots at our charming Fergus Fall Fair.

    Fergus Fall Fair Photo by Wellington Advertiser

    Make a weekend of it. Gather your friends and map out your inspiration with the Elora Fergus Studio Tour. Explore private workshops and studios and meet the makers of the fine art that has made Elora and Fergus a hub of diverse creativity and inspiration.  Autumn is awesome here.

    • Get out of the city and get your country on! The 185th Fergus Fall Fair is a tradition of fun experiences for the whole family celebrating agriculture, community and the bounty of harvest season. www.fergusfallfair.ca
    • We renowned for our artist collectives. Creativity thrives here. The Elora Fergus Studio Tour is your chance to get inside the creative spaces of our local artists, in a self-guided tour that takes place annually over two weekends. Meet the makers and see what inspires them.  Start at the Elora Centre for the Arts, with their exhibit featuring the artists on tour, and then head off to get inspired. www.elorafergusstudiotour.com
    • Fall Wellington Rural Romp takes you down the back roads to the farms for some hands-on experiences and a chance to see our rural borders. The Fall Wellington Rural Romp is September 24, 2022. www.wellington.ca
    • Rev your engines and head to the Downtown Fergus Antique and Classic Car Show, when we shut down the main drag and bring in the road warriors. www.downtownfergus.com
    • Sensational Pumpkin Day happens every October at the Elora Farmers’ Market, celebrating all things pumpkin. From carving and decorating them to finding fun ways to eat them, everyone loves pumpkins. www.sensationalelora.com
    • The Monsters take over Elora every October. Look around. Find them before they find you! Monster Month makes the village an imaginative place that celebrates all this Halloween. There is so much going on, with family-friendly festivities to join in the spooky fun. Dress up and join your fellow monsters for the annual Monster March Parade through the streets. This month is loaded with fun. Don’t miss out on the fun or it just haunt you. Visit www.monstermonth.ca for current activities.
    • Fergus gets into the spirit of Halloween with their downtown Halloween Haunt Walk for the kids, and by night, the Fergus Ghost Walks. Ghost stories in real time! Watch out for the shadow. Visit www.centrewellington.ca for dates and times.
    • Our haunted house is way bigger than yours! And it’s haunted for real. Ask anyone. Join in the October Spooktacular festivities, like the Poor House Spirit Walks at the Wellington County Museum. If this doesn’t give you a tingle up your spine, then don’t look over your shoulder. Boo! www.wellington.ca.
    • Abracadabra! Magic anyone? We are home to the Magic Festival, with a slate of internationally renowned magicians who bring the mystery, the awe and the showmanship of the artform to town. Open your mind to the possibilities and the wonder, part of the Monster Month fun. www.magicfestival.ca.
    • Get on your boots and head to the The Fieldstone Barn to pick your perfect pumpkin right out of the farm field. Tour the Corn Maze and enjoy the autumn vibes. Check the calendar for seasonal events on the farm. www.thefieldstonebarn.com
    • When the autumn foliage turns to vibrant reds and oranges, our trails are a pathway through the season with beautiful views. That crunch of the leaves beneath your feet and the smell of autumn in the air, there is nothing like it. Get out, explore and kick up the leaves.
    Monster Month Elora Submitted photo

    Wonderful Winter

    When the snow falls and ice forms long sharp teeth against the limestone rocks that envelope the Grand River, the view is spectacular. The Elora Gorge is an icicle fortress, where ice climbers gear up for a climb to the top, and the trails are set for cross-country skiing and snow shoeing.

    The view of the Grand River through Fergus is picturesque, as the water rushes through leaving a frozen mist on the trees. When the ice is thick, Belwood Lake offers ice fishing, and snowmobiles tour special trails to get out into the countryside.  It’s cold out there, but it’s warm inside our pubs, restaurants, specialty coffee shops. 

    ‘Tis the season to be merry and we can help with that too. Christmas shopping will become a special tradition.  Begin your holiday memories here.

    • The best way to enjoy winter is to get out and play in it. We’ve got the best trails to strap on the cross-country skis or the snowshoes and make the most of the season. 
    • When the ice is thick, Belwood Lake’s ice fishing is a fun winter tradition that every should try (weather permitting of course) www.grandriver.ca
    • Winter fun includes two key components: outdoor ice skating and tobogganing. We excel at both. From the free outdoor rinks throughout the community to some excellent steep hills to launch your sleigh down, there is nothing like getting outdoors here.
    • Up for a winter challenge? Dig in and try Ice Climbing in the Elora Gorge. This is the ultimate winter adventure designed for beginners, but fun for experienced climbers. One Axe Pursuits offers 60-foot ice manmade climbing routes along the limestone cliffs of the Elora Gorge, with the rush of the water of the Irvine and Grand Rivers below. Learn to climb new heights with an epic winter experience. oneaxepursuits.com
    • Christmas shopping is cozy and fun in our downtowns, where the shopkeepers are friendly and the selection is great. Be unique and shop unique. Elora hosts two nights of Starlight Shopping and Fergus rolls out the specials with their annual Late Night Sip’n Shop event. www.elora.info / http://www/downtownfergus.com
    • Nothing brings the harmony of Christmas in the Village like the internationally renowned voices of the Elora Festival Singers. Their annual Christmas in the Village and Festival of Carols have become a lovely holiday tradition here and are sure to make your spirits bright. www.elorafestival.ca
    • The Wellington County Museum celebrates the festive season with a Christmas Festival each year, welcoming families to learn about the traditions of this holiday throughout our past. www.wellington.ca
    • Celebrate the life of the Scottish bard Robbie Burns in Fergus with an annual celebration where haggis is as much a guest as it is the heart of the meal. It’s a memorable Robbie Burns Night and a fabulous party. Entertainment like no other. Kilt up and get down there. http://www.fpb.burnsnight.ca

    As you can see, we pack a lot in here, because life is Grand and Gorgeous all year round. There’s more. Much more. But you know, we didn’t want to overwhelm you. We suggest you check our calendar of events for new and upcoming events, locations and details.

    Winter in downtown Fergus Photo by Bill Longshaw

    Our landscape is changing as we grow to become a premiere destination, but that just means you’ll find new things to explore when you return. So plan to come back. Often.

    We miss you already.

  4. Tartan Up and Skate!

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    Got plans this Family Day long weekend?

    The Fergus Scottish Festival is excited to be celebrating Scottish culture during skating season with its first annual Kilt Skate event.

    Don your kilts and tartan and, of course, your skates and join us on Sunday afternoon of the Family Day weekend for a fun hour of free skating from 4:30 – 5:30 pm at the Centre Wellington Sportsplex.

    Canadian kilt skates began in the 1980s as a house party to celebrate Sir John A Macdonald’s birthday by skating on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal. Over the years other Canadian cities have joined in the festivities. Last year,  New York City got in on the fun.  And this year the first-ever kilt skate will take place on the east side of the Atlantic, with the Tartan Kilt Skate Dublin.

    But we all know the best time will be had in Fergus for our first-ever kilt skate!
    Why?

    Because not only will everyone be out skating and having fun, but there will be pipes and drums playing, hot chocolate to enjoy with delicious shortbread AND chances to win passes to the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games in August.

    After all, this is just part of the excitement building up to the 75th anniversary of the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games in August.

    Get the tartans out and lace up your skates.

  5. Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games

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    Aye, can you hear the pipes calling you back?  Haste ye back to the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games!

    They say it’s like visiting Scotland, without the airfare. We think they’re right.  So pack your bags, your kilts and your Scottish pride (hey, you can even borrow it – be a Scots for a day!) and come to one of the best festivals in the province.

    The Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games is a true celebration of Scottish culture, in the spirit of promoting and preserving the cultural heritage, from the arts and ancestry to the traditional competitions of sport.  For the town of Fergus, rooted in Scottish history, this event is a source of great pride for the community, volunteers and organizers.

    And it’s party to be had!  With a full line-up of music performances, dance and pipe band competitions, the traditional Tattoo and even some celebrity guests, we like to think of it as “Scotland without the jet lag.”

    So get your tartan on and meet us there!

     

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