One-Tank Trip for July 21-18
(c) By Jim Fox
Aye lads, lassies and the wee ones, there’s a gathering of the clans and everyone’s invited.
The pipes are calling for a taste of bonnie Scotland at the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games from Aug. 10 to 12.
Taking place at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex (550 Belsyde Ave. E.), this community northwest of Guelph has deep roots to Scotland.
|You’re never too young to lead a pipe band at the Fergus festival.|
“Celebrating local Scottish heritage, the festival has developed a large and loyal audience who return year after year to enjoy heavy events’ competition, dancing, piping, clans, interactive family fun and community involvement,” said publicist Stephen Murdoch.
That’s not all with summer festivals nearby – the Elora Festival and Riverfest Elora – drawing crowds to this scenic enclave.
The Fergus-Elora festivals feature “very different types of entertainment” in the neighbouring towns on the Grand River.
|A competitor gets ready to give a caber the heave-ho in the “heavies competitions.”|
Grunts and groans accompany the competitive events when cabers the size of telephone poles and huge stones are tossed by the Scots.
The three-day fest in its 73rd year is said to be the oldest in North America and attracts about 40 clans and 30,000 spectators.
The fest is “filled with a diverse combination of traditional and contemporary Scottish performances and events – like taking a trip to Scotland without the airfare,” said Lee Puddephatt, games marketing co-chair.
On the agenda are pipe band competitions, Highland dancers, the World and National Scottish Heavy Events competitions and the Canadian Scottish Athletic Federation Women’s Championship
|More than 700 dancers will take part in the Scottish festival competitions.|
Learn about the clans at the Heritage Tent with research tools and lectures in the Genealogy Centre.
There’s the entertaining “Clash of the Regiments” tug-of-war competition and McKiddie’s Centre for children.
Celtic musicians include the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, who had so much fun previously, they’re back, along with the required whisky tastings and some 100 international vendors.
Fans can meet STARZ TV’s Outlander actor Graham McTavish, who portrays Dougal MacKenzie, war chief of Clan MacKenzie.
Festival opening times are Aug. 11, 5 p.m.; Aug. 12, 8 a.m.; and Aug. 13, 9 a.m. fergusscottishfestival.com; 1-866-871-9442
“A celebration in song”
The internationally renowned Elora Festival is in its 39th season, on now through July 29.
Its star-packed line-up of performances features some of the best vocal, choral and chamber music artists in the world.
Taking place in three intimate venues in the picturesque heritage town of Elora, it attracts 8,000 music lovers.
Upcoming featured performers include Canadian singer songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, musical theatre performer Louise Pitre singing the songs of Judy Garland and the Elora Singers, the choir in residence.
Along with introducing new artistic director Mark Vuorinen, the fest features a new Family Series of concerts for audiences of all ages, including free pre-concert art activities. elorafestival.ca; (519) 846-0331
Take me to the river
|Canadian country rockers Blue Rodeo will perform at Riverfest Elora.|
Riverfest Elora, from Aug. 17 to 19, highlights 58 bands including the Flaming Lips, Carly Rae Jepson, Blue Rodeo, July Talk and a contingent of local artists.
The event, which draws about 6,000 visitors each day, also has food trucks, arts and craft vendors and community celebrations along the banks of the Grand River in Bissell Park.
“We have everything from punk to folk to hip hop, but it all fits together like a beautiful and crazy puzzle,” said Spencer Shewen, artistic director and festival manager.
“When taking into account the Riverfest performer lineup, we like to say that if you put all of the artists’ songs into a giant playlist, you could hit shuffle and never have to skip a song,” he added. riverfestelora.com
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com
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