Penticton Scots Festival celebrates Canada’s 150th

No shortage of fun events on Canada Day

There’s not going to be any shortage of things to do on Canada Day.

The Penticton Scottish Festival always takes place on the first Saturday in July, which this year coincides with Canada’s 150th Birthday.

“We’ve got it all organized. I think it’s going to be a good one,” said Wayne McDougall, president of the Scottish Festival Society, adding that they’re celebrating both Canadian and Scottish heritage.

“We’ve got a special exhibit set up where people can try on a kilt and dance the Highland Fling. Or, try playing the bagpipes with the Canada 150 backdrop,” said McDougall. The organizers are hoping people will come with their cameras and phones and have something humorous to share on social media.

“It’s another experience of Canada 150 on Canada Day,” he said. “We’ve got a small set of bagpipes that pretty much everyone will be able to make a noise with at least.

“Depending on how much of a connoisseur you are on bagpipes that’s the definition of a music and noise may blur.”

This is the fourth year for the current incarnation of the Scottish Festival. Previously, Penticton hosted an annual festival for 30 years.

Besides the Canada Day fun, McDougall said there will be lots to watch and do, including the heavy games, including the caber toss, where he says there is a good slate of entrants.

“We’ve got an expanded kids zone, so some new activities for the children. We try to make sure that it’s entertaining for the family as well,” said McDougall. “The kids, young and old, if they’re not competing in one of the events they can participate in some other way.”

Other competitions running throughout the day include Celtic dancing, and the stock dogs are back herding sheep again.

“It’s always very popular and there’s a local lady that runs her dogs and sheep and also a number of competitors from out of town come for this,” said McDougall. “The dog handler can only use a whistle or verbal commands to lead the dog and the dog herds the sheep just like they do in Scotland.”

McDougall said it’s a great experience being part of putting the festival together.

“For me, the most fun is just being there on the day and walking around and meeting the people and just seeing the smiles on their face. When a pipe band starts up everyone swells with pride; it’s just looking at the people that are enjoying the event that gives me a lot of fulfilment,” he said.

Besides the games, there will be music throughout the day.

“We have a number of solo piping and drumming competitors as well as two featured pipe bands. They’re from the Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band (SFU),” said McDougall.

The music comes to a head at 5 p.m. with a Ceilidh in the Park featuring Good McLaren and the McLan, along with Kinship.

More information about the festival is available online at www.pentictonscottishfestival.ca