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Scottish Festival returns to Cambridge, bagpipes and all

The Cambridge Scottish Festival returns to paint the park with plaid as dancers and the sound of bagpipes take over Churchill Park

The unmistakable sound of bagpipes and drums rolled over the fields of Churchill Park as the Cambridge Scottish Festival returned after a two year hiatus. 

Hundreds of bagpipes and drummers took the field at the park Saturday as the highland festivities made their way back to Cambridge. 

Sheila Stewart is the pipe major for the Beinn Gorm Highlanders, a Scottish piping and drumming band. She is ready to hit the field and compete with her band and embrace their Scottish heritage. 

“We’re excited, a little nervous, but overall happy to be back out and playing,” said Stewart. “We’re also practicing for the World Pipe Band Championships in August.”

Organizers at the festival are expecting a few hundred people to attend the Scottish festival on what was a sunny day without a cloud in the sky.

Unfortunately for festival goers, the heavy games were cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. There were still plenty of vendors selling plaid clothing, food trucks and clans explaining Scottish heritage to the people. 

Terry Miles of the MacNeil clan was out in full highland garb, kilt, vest, sword and all. His job is to explain to people about the MacNeil’s lineage, how they came to Canada and to keep their Scottish heritage alive.

“We try to provide information to people so they can find out where they came from. We want them to know their history back in Scotland, the people they came from, the people that lived before us and how they lived.” said Miles. 

Dancers of all ages jumped and pranced through the fields to the sound of bagpipes and showcased traditional Scottish dances. 

Sarah MacDougal, whose daughter is a dancer at the event, loves to see her and her friends get up and perform, but also get an appreciation for their Scottish heritage. 

“It’s amazing watching them dance and just have fun,” said MacDougal. “I used to do this as a child and loved it, so it’s exciting to see this tradition passed down.” 

Miles is happy to be back out at festivals as a representative of the MacNeil clan after a hard two years. 

“We’re just happy to be back out here, especially on such a beautiful day. It can’t get any better than this,” said Miles. 

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Joe McGinty

About the Author: Joe McGinty

Joe McGinty is a multimedia journalist who covers local news in the Cambridge area. He is a graduate of Conestoga College and began his career as a freelance journalist at CambridgeToday before joining full time.
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