The Chicago Scots is inviting everyone to be Scottish at the FREE 34th annual Scottish Festival & Highland Games, a free, family-friendly event on Saturday, August 1 at 2 p.m. CST. Held virtually for the first time since its inception, the Virtual Scottish Festival & Highland Games will keep its 34-year tradition alive and thriving, while keeping the safety of all patrons and participants of the upmost importance during this time. Free to join in, all guests are invited to watch via Facebook Live, while also being encouraged to make a monetary donation before and/or during the event. All proceeds benefit the Chicago Scots, one of the world’s largest Scottish cultural organizations and the oldest 501(c)3 charity in Illinois, and their principal charity, Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care in North Riverside.
“We are excited to host the Festival and Games in a way that keeps everyone safe and the tradition alive, despite our current circumstances,” said Gus Noble, President of the Chicago Scots. “The Festival has become an important annual family tradition for thousands of people, so we are thrilled to provide a safe and virtual alternative this year and we’re also excited to see so many people that aren’t typically able to travel to the Games sign up to join us virtually this year. As always, we welcome everyone who is Scottish by birth, by heritage or simply by inclination.”
The Scottish Festival & Highland Games is the largest in the Midwest, attracting 10,000-15,000 visitors each year in past years. This year’s Virtual Scottish Festival & Highland Games will feature a variety of demonstrations and performances for everyone to enjoy, along with special shout outs to the community for their endless support throughout the past few months. The Festival will include:
Shortbread Baking with Award Winning Chef Gary Maclean- Learn how to make a Scottish delicacy with a live demonstration from National Chef of Scotland and MasterChef UK winner Gary Maclean as he shares his famous hazelnut shortbread recipe. Plus, learn how to make the Scottish Home shortbread with a special demonstration from the next generation of Chicago Scots members!
Scottish Heavy Athletics- Demonstrations of some of the traditional Heavy Athletics skills. It’s always amazing to see these feats of strength, balance, timing and concentration. Highland Dancers- Featuring intricate dance routines in traditional Scottish attire, two schools of Highland Dancers will perform for all to enjoy.
Bagpiping- Pipe bands Chicago Stockyard and Chicago Highlanders, both celebrating 100 years this year, will make an appearance, followed by an interview with the President of the MidWest Pipe Band Association, Jim Sim. Dogs of Scotland- Enjoy seeing some of your favorite Dogs of Scotland including an agility demonstration!
History of the Highland Games in America- Learn about the history of the Highland Games hosted by the Scottish-American History Forum. Plus, learn about the genealogy of Robert the Bruce and discover this connection to Queen Elizabeth via Chicago Scots’ Genealogy Group. Plus, participants are encouraged to visit the Virtual Marketplace during the event for a selection of exclusive virtual experiences to purchase in lieu of a silent auction, including a custom birthday bagpipe message, a fun tutorial on Highland Dancing, and more, along with Highland Games swag all in support of the Chicago Scots mission.
Registration is free for all on Eventbrite, with additional Supporter Tickets at the $100 or $500 level also available to purchase. The Virtual Scottish Festival & Highland Games will be held on the Chicago Scots Facebook Page. For more information, please visit scottishfestivalchicago.org or call (708) 426-7111.