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Pipes ready to echo through valley for Scottish Festival

Five-year-old Cohen Michaud demonstrates the proper caber-toss technique with this cardboard caber last July during the Scottish Festival preview under the watchful eye of Colton Worts. The toss is a popular event at Scottish Highland Games. - Mark Brett/Western News
Five-year-old Cohen Michaud demonstrates the proper caber-toss technique with this cardboard caber last July during the Scottish Festival preview under the watchful eye of Colton Worts. The toss is a popular event at Scottish Highland Games.
— image credit: Mark Brett/Western News

The skirl of the pipes will echo through the Okanagan Valley like never before.

The Simon Fraser Pipe Band organization is coming to Penticton with not one, but two pipe bands on July 5 to celebrate Celtic culture at the Penticton Scottish Festival.

The one-day event includes bagpiping and drumming, highland dancing and heavy events competitions. Other activities include entertainment from Kinship, children’s activities, clan information, clothing and equipment booths, food vendors and more.

“It’s going to be a great day for spectators as well as for the pipe bands from around the province, who are attending,” said Brian Johnston, president of the Penticton Scottish Festival Society. “Pipe bands will be competing for cash prizes and trophies at our highland games, and we are pleased that both these Grade 2 and Grade 4 bands from the coast will be here.”

As an added feature for spectators included with a gate pass these two competition bands will present a short concert of tunes during the games, as well as participating in the opening and closing massed bands, “something not to be missed,” said Johnston.

Part of the world renowned Simon Fraser University Pipe Band organization, the Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band is dedicated to developing youth through music, and has grown to become one of the largest pipe band organizations of its kind in the world with over 150 players. The pipe bands travel the province and the world for competition and performances.

As for the heavy events, the Highland Games circuit extends not only throughout B.C., Alberta and the North West U.S. but across Canada.

“The games will bring not only the competitors and their families, but also a dedicated following of people who want to celebrate their heritage or just want to enjoy a day of entertainment and fun. We anticipate that the games will attract approximately 3,000 people based on previous experience,” said Johnston, who added they have set a goal to expand that number in future festivals.

The Penticton Scottish Festival is held on the first Saturday in July in Penticton. Admission is available at the gate, $10 for adults and $20 for a family pass. More information on this family friendly event can be found at www.PentictonScottishFestival.ca.

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