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Cambridge Scottish Festival set to celebrate 45 years

'We look forward to welcoming everyone back this year. You can be from any background and still come out and have a great day'

After almost a three-year hiatus, the Cambridge Scottish Festival is back.

On Tuesday, the festival’s board of directors offered a sneak peak at MacDougall Cottage to share a taste of Scotland, and all that the festival will have to offer.

From July 15-16, Waterloo region’s Scottish celebration is ready to make a return to Churchill Park in Cambridge. This year, the festival celebrates its 45th anniversary.

“We are so excited for the return of the Cambridge Scottish Festival that is organized each year by a group of dedicated volunteers who want to promote and celebrate their Scottish heritage and Scottish history in Cambridge,” said festival president, Laura McFarlane.

“Some people might still be a bit hesitant coming out because of the pandemic. But we’ve had a great response so far and tickets are selling. And because it’s outdoors as well, it makes it easier for people.”

The two-day event is scheduled for July 15 and 16, and will feature traditional games, music, dancers, and cultural attractions.

The event will once again showcase talented pipe bands, and athletes from Ontario and beyond. Jason Wilson, a Juno nominated artist, will headline the event.

“There will also be a variety of Celtic bands as well as a performance by the Blair Scottish Country Dancers,” McFarlane said.

“And along with the caber toss and hammer throw, we will have a children’s glen. We want the festival to be an event for the entire family.”

In addition to activities and events, the Cambridge Scottish Festival will have a variety of food vendors, a blacksmith, and a genealogy tent.

Visitors can learn about their Scottish heritage in the ‘Avenue of the Clans’ and Heritage Tent along with a selection of exhibitors and vendors.

The 2022 Cambridge Scottish Festival clan chieftain is Helen Jowett, who also serves as regional councillor for Cambridge.  

“We want to get the whole region to show up for this, for something so beautiful. Our cultural experiences define us, our differences and our sameness in humanity. So, we have to share those differences,” Jowett said.

“I’m so excited to take on this position. I remember as a little girl watching the dancers and wishing that I could dance like that.”

Cambridge mayor Kathryn McGarry is also thrilled to celebrate the upcoming festival as well as her own Scottish heritage.

“There is much Scottish history in Cambridge. Galt was built by Scots. Scottish masons built this cottage. So, there is so much history here. What a great celebration for Cambridge,” McGarry said.

“My grandmother was a ‘Duncan’ and it was at the Scottish Festival that I finally found the Duncan dress plaid and I was able to get a few things for my mom to remember her Scottish ancestry. On behalf of the city, we are incredibly excited to have all of the dancers, and all of the activities back again and we are so happy to support and to be back in person.”

The Cambridge Scottish Festival invites anyone who would like to volunteer to come out and help.

“We look forward to welcoming everyone back this year. You can be from any background and still come out and have a great day,” McFarlane said.

“Cambridge has so much Scottish history. It’s a great way to come out and experience a little taste of Scotland.”

 For tickets, to volunteer, or for more information about the Cambridge Scottish Festival, visit here.

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Barbara Latkowski

About the Author: Barbara Latkowski

Barbara graduated with a Masters degree in Journalism from Western University and has covered politics, arts and entertainment, health, education, sports, courts, social justice, and issues that matter to the community. She joined CambridgeToday in 2021
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