N.B. community prepares to celebrate rich Scottish heritage with action and entertainment

by | May 28, 2024

Check out the annual Gathering of the Scots Festival from June 6 to 9 in Perth-Andover

Organizers of the annual Gathering of the Scots in Perth-Andover, N.B., see it as the true moment of summer’s return to the shores of the Saint John River. 

For more than 20 years, the celebration of Celtic culture has excited area residents and attracted thousands to the community for Scottish-themed action, entertainment, and enjoyment of food, beverage, and traditions. 

The Gathering of the Scots Festival, hosted by the small rural New Brunswick community, has garnered an international reputation. 

During the four-day celebration from June 6 to 9, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of events, performances, and activities, with the focus on a full day of exciting events on Saturday, June 8. 

The long list of festival events kicks off a week before the festival with a five-course Whiskey-Tasting Dinner on June 1 at the new Pathsaala Inn & Restaurant. The dinner features single-malt whiskey and amazing food. Tickets, at $150 each, are available only in advance. 

The Scots Festival starts on Thursday, June 6, at the Aroostook Golf and Country Club. On Friday, June 7, the Pipes & Drums parade across the Saint John River leads to an evening of socializing and entertainment at the Tobique River Trading Company Brew Pub. 

The heart of Gathering of the Scots hits a prominent beat on Saturday, June 8, with a full day of Highland Games at Veterans Field in Perth-Andover. 

Pipe bands parade through Perth-Andover during the Festival of the Scots, which returns this year from June 6 to 9. (Photography by Amanda)

“It is simply impossible to describe the vastness of activities taking place at this festival,” said event chairman Rob MacIntosh. 

His list of events and ceremonies can only touch the service of events celebrating Scottish heritage. 

“Scottish heavy athletics, pipe bands, clan parades and even Medieval Jousting Competitions will take center stage in 2024,” MacIntosh said. “Add to the list things like archery, axe-throwing, fly-casting, music and highland dancers at the Ceilidh Tent, a Whisky-Tasting and even a venue of “Wee-Ones” activities.”

He added that vendors will be on hand throughout the day, offering refreshments, crafts, retail items and unique food options, including the Gathering’s own haggis.  

Saturday’s busy schedule begins at 8 a.m. with Highlanders Breakfast at the Elk Lodge until 10 a.m. 

The schedule continues as follows:

9 a.m. — Festival grounds open. Scottish Athletics begin

10 a.m. — The jousting competition begins, and the tea tent opens

11 a.m. — Pipe band performances begin, Wee-Ones tent opens, and Ceilidh tent opens with live music.

12 p.m. — Opening ceremonies, including massed band and clan march

1:15 p.m. — Fly-casting competition

1:30 p.m. — Pipe band performances

2 p.m. — Jousting competition and whisky-tasting workshop

3 p.m. — Pipe band performance and jousting competition

4:30 p.m. — Festival closing ceremonies

5 to 11 p.m. — Ceilidh, featuring pipes and drums showcase and music from the band Late for Supper and headliner Montgomery Street Band. 

Admission to the day’s events is $15 for adults, $5 for students, and free for children under 12. 

The Gathering comes to a close in 2024 on Sunday with the popular Kirkin’ O The Tartans ceremony at the historic Larlee Creek Church on Sunday evening. 

Pipers and Highland dancers are front and centre as the annual Festival of the Scots celebrates the community’s Scottish heritage. (Photography by Amanda)

MacIntosh described the Gathering of the Scots as a great way to prepare for summer. 

“If you are looking to cast off the drudgery of a long winter in your own way, why not make plans to visit Perth-Andover in June for the Gathering of the Scots – the Biggest Little Scottish Festival in the Maritimes,” he said. 

Anyone seeking more information on the event can follow the festival on social media or www.gatheringofthescots.com

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