Scottish Festivals Hosted in America this Summer
Scottish Culture is alive and thriving in America, and this summer there are plenty of ways to celebrate your Celtic heritage. Whether you’re looking for some highland games, Scottish dancing or traditional food, here are the top Scottish festivals hosted in Central America this summer.
The Penticton Scottish Festival
King’s Park, Penticton BC, July 1st
The Penticton Scottish Festival is a unique one-day event that combines traditional Scottish Highland Games of musical and athletic competition with Celtic cultural expose of entertainment and family fun.
See many amazing events throughout the day, such as Highland Dancing, Bagpiping, Drumming, and Caber Toss, to name a few.
Hosted by the Penticton Highland Games Association, the very first Highland Games in Penticton BC were held at King’s Park in May of 1964.
Penticton is centrally located in the Southern Interior of British Columbia and is the hub of the South Okanagan. Conveniently located along the HWY 97 corridor, Penticton is easily accessed by the Trans-Canada Highway (HWY 1) to the North and the scenic Crowsnest Highway (HWY 3) to the South. Penticton is also serviced by two airports, locally Penticton Regional Airport (YYF) and further North by Kelowna International Airport (YLW).
This festival also offers Pipe Band Competitions, an Entertainment Stage, and a Ceilidh to round out the festivities! Traditional highland dress is encouraged, visit our online store to view our range of kilt outfits. To find out more about The Penticton Scottish Festival, click here.
Almonte, Gemmill Park – July 2nd & 3rd
Celtfest is a fun weekend of Ottawa Valley and Celtic entertainment, performed in the natural amphitheatre of Gemmill Park in the heart of Almonte. It is a time to share the historical Celtic traditions with today’s local performers. Celtfest also presents a select group of unique artisans and vendors of speciality goods with a Celtic flair. Donations are welcomed at the gate.
Celtfest’s mission is to celebrate and promote the Celtic heritage of the Ottawa Valley through music and dance and to make this accessible to all. The festival aim’s to allow up-and-coming performers to display their talents in their home community. They feature a free event with several entertainers who have a Celtic quality, as well as a wide variety of vendors of Celtic goods. The festival also provides a tent for seniors and entertainment for children, along with great food and beverages for all.
Celtfest began in 1997. Motivated by a love of Celtic heritage, Brian and Dan O’Connell, along with Terry Currie, looked for a way to keep their musical traditions alive and pass on the legacy of the Celts to the wider community. Throughout generations, fiddling and step dancing have had a strong presence in the Ottawa Valley. Celtic music has continued to thrive in kitchens, pubs, and churches, Brian O’Connell explains. “In the early to mid-90s, there was a revival of Celtic music, such as Riverdance. We felt with all the local talent in the area, we could put together an event that would promote local musical talent and a weekend to reflect on the Celtic heritage.
To find out more about the event, click here.
Grandfather Mountain Highland Games
North Carolina, 7th July
High in the Mountains of Western North Carolina the ancient Celtic spirit beckons. Answering the call, as hundreds of tartan banners unfurl, are the sounds of bagpipes echoing through the valley, and once again, thousands of kilt-clad Scots make their way to MacRae Meadows for their annual gathering and games. Nowhere in the New World is there a place more reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands than the home of America’s grandest Highland Games—Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina.
The mission of the GMHG is to promote the annual gathering of Scottish Clans, to foster and restore interest in traditional dancing, piping, drumming, athletic achievement, music and Gaelic culture, and to establish scholarship funds to assist students from Avery County High School to study at American colleges and universities.
This festival focuses on a variety of Scottish events, particularly sports. The Highland Athletic competition is a series of six events and the competitor must complete all six. These include competitive events such as the Hammer Throw, Weight Toss for Height, and the Sheaf Toss. This challenges athletes to be at their best in every competition. GMHG currently hosts "A" and "B" amateur competitions, professional competitions, and Master competitions for men who have experience in this specific sport. There are also Highland Dance competitions, field events, children’s activities and traditional ceremonies. To find out more, click here.