The Penticton Scottish Festival is offering céad mile failte, a hundred thousand welcomes, to the return of what was once an annual event.
“We are expecting a pretty good turnout because lots of people that we tell about it said they have heard and read about it, so that is good,” said media manager of the festival Wayne McDougall. “We are hoping for hundreds to come out for the first year back but we can accommodate thousands.”
The Penticton Highland Games disappeared from the city about nine years ago. Organizers of the Scottish Festival hope to revive the cultural event with a more family-friendly and interactive day.
Gates to the festival open at 8 a.m. It kicks off with the heavy events competition beginning at 9 a.m., the solo piping competition beginning at 9:30 a.m. and solo drumming and sheep dog demo at 10 a.m. (also at noon and 2 p.m.).
Main stage entertainment throughout the day includes Emily McDonald Highland Dancers, Liz Lupton and The Fiddle Kids, demo by the Shire of Danescombe in sword fighting, folk singer Gord McLaren and Janice Blakey Irish Dancers. The official opening ceremonies and massed band performance happens at 12:30 p.m.
McDougall, who has been learning to play the bagpipes the past four years, said the opening and closing ceremonies mass band performance will be one of the neatest parts of the day.
“I think there is something special when you hear a mass pipe band sound. Bagpipes were designed as an outdoor battle instrument and to hear that right in front of you is something special. It is not only the sights and sounds but you can feel it,” he said.
The Penticton Scottish Festival have dedicated Chieftain of the Day honours to Sandy Duncan, a long-time supporter of everything Scottish. Duncan has played in many parades in his over 30 years with the City of Penticton Pipe Band and another half dozen or so with the Okanagan Caledonian Pipe Band alongside his piping father Howard Duncan.
McDougall said the one-day festival is very much a family friendly affair with, End of the Roll sponsoring a kids caber toss event and Par-T-Perfect will have kids activities starting at 10 a.m. at the Celtic Kids Corner.
At 4:30 p.m. the mass pipe bands will join together for the closing ceremonies. This will be followed by Triskele Celtic Duo and Fiddling Friends at 4:30 p.m., Kinship Band Celtic Entertainment at 5:30 p.m. and The Malarkeys Celtic Entertainment at 6:30 p.m. There will also be a number of vendors on site providing food and desserts to the opportunity to buy your own kilt. The beverage garden will be open from noon to 8 p.m.
The Penticton Scottish Festival plans to be an annual event held on the first Saturday in July. Admission at the gate is $10 for adults and $20 for a family pass. More information on the festival can be found at www.PentictonScottishFestival.ca.