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Cobourg Highland Games begin Friday night, continue Saturday

Cecilia Nasmith

By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today


The 54th annual Cobourg Scottish Festival and Highland Games takes place this weekend, with entertainment, food and even a history lesson in the mix.

The event moved to Victoria Park in recent years, when it outgrew the space available in Donegan Park. The extra room has come in handy, given the number of visitors and events involved in each year’s production.

Also in recent years, organizers have added a Friday night of fun before the big day. This year, drop in to the grounds from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday to see the annual Tug of the Tartans tug-of-war competition and enjoy music by Madman’s Window and the Busker Brothers.

On Saturday, the schedule of events begins early.

• From 8:30 a.m. to noon, solo amateur and professional piping and drumming competition is held, as well as Piobaireachd Competitions at nearby St. Peter’s Church.

• At 9 a.m., Highland dancing competition starts at the bandshell and Canadian Men’s Amateur Heavy Events in the main area. Food and merchandise vendors open for business, as well as the Clan Corner.

• At 11 a.m., the refreshment area opens, offering Scotch, beer, wine, coolers, pop, water and crisps.

• At noon, the official welcoming ceremonies begin, with a line-up of dignitaries that includes the 2017 Chieftain of the Games Ken Shaw of CTV. The program includes the first parade of the massed pipes and drums and a massed Highland fling.

• At 1 p.m., the pipe-band competition begins for Grades 1 to 5, and medals from the morning dance competition are presented at the bandshell.

• At 1:30 p.m., as heavy-event competition continues, the afternoon Highland dance competitions begin (with medals presented at completion).

• At 5 p.m., closing ceremonies are held, with the final parade of massed bands, the march-past of bands, the presentation of heavy-events and pipe-bands trophies and medals, and the raffle draw.

Food vendors will be offering fish and chips, sandwiches, ice cream, cookies and lemonade to fuel your day.

Market vendors will bring their henna tattoos, tartans and Highland-dancing wares, and a wide array of British and Scottish T-shirts, flags and giftware, as well as artisan wares like pottery and jewelry

The Shakespeare Street Theatre will offer sonnets and readings at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

At 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., there will be another kind of show, as historian Kyle McIntosh gives his Jacobite Camp presentation. It’s a trip back in time, as he welcomes visitors to an authentic camp that details the food, clothing and weapons of the Jacobite Risings in Scotland.

Admission is payable at the gate at $20 per person (free for children aged 12 and under).

And if you’re not ready to call it a day when it’s all over, admission is free to the refreshment tent Saturday night from 6 to 11 p.m., where there will be entertainment by Old Man Flanagan’s Ghost and Erin’s Marlore.

For more information, visit