FERGUS – The grounds at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex are set to welcome an expected 26,000 people Aug. 11 to 13 for the 78th annual Scottish Festival and Highland Games.
It’s been coined as “Scotland without the airfare.” A few of the main draws this year include the World Heavy Events Championship, celebrity appearances, and performances by bands Glass Tiger and Albannach.
On Aug. 2, organizers held a press event leading up to the festival, complete with a caber toss demonstration.
Festival president Matthew Bennett-Monty has been involved with the event since 2013 when Your Hometown Realty became involved as a sponsor of the Guinness World Record caber toss event.
Since then, he’s been site manager, board director and vice-president.
“For Outlander fans, we have Richard Rankin, who will be joining us for one-on-one experiences with patrons,” he said.
“But our crowning jewel this year is indeed the opportunity to host the World Heavy Events Championship.”
This will be the third time the festival will host the World Heavy Events Championships.
Warren Trask, heavy events chair, provided a few details about the “unturnable caber” which is twenty feet, five inches long and weighs 140 pounds.
“It’s an ironwood. It has virtually no taper, which makes it very difficult to turn, and it’s got just about everything going against it,” Trask said.
Despite the name, two athletes have managed to turn the caber in its history. It’s been 10 years since the caber was turned, and with an annual bounty increase of $500 the current prize stands at $5,000 and will be contested Saturday.
Executive director Elizabeth Bender works alongside hundreds of volunteers in coordinating the festival.
“This is not a year to miss the Fergus Scottish Festival,” Bender told the Advertiser.
“There’s so much incredible programming… great music, amazing competitions and heritage programming.
“I encourage folks to visit fergusscottishfestival.com to find the right ticket for them.”
Prices for the festival vary by day or for the full weekend. Entry for children under 12 is free and there are discounted rates for youth and seniors.
“Every year I look forward to seeing our local community, together with an army of selfless volunteers, host an event that is recognized as one of North America’s premier Scottish festivals.
“When a small community in Wellington County gains accolades on an international stage, it reinforces to me that all the effort put forth is worth it,” Bennett-Monty said.
“We encourage people to come and enjoy a family-friendly event that celebrates Scottish heritage, their contributions, and their new lives in Upper Canada through athletics, music, dance, and much, much more.”
For the full schedule of events or for more information, visit fergusscottishfestival.com.