Sometimes, in life, everything seems to come together perfectly! No one knows for sure why or how . . . but sometimes it just happens. Was it the efforts of our long-departed ancestors – bringing us the blessing of 4-days of beautiful weather? I’d like to think it was . . .
But in the end, all we know for sure, is that the 18th Gathering of the Scots festival was a wonderful success with hundreds of competitors and thousands of visitors making the pilgrimage to Perth-Andover for “the Ultimate Celtic Experience in 2019!
Records were set again at the Gathering! Spectators witnessed the largest parade of Scottish Pipe Bands ever in Perth-Andover as they marched down West Riverside Drive and onto the festival grounds at noon! Hundreds of families participated in the Gathering’s Clan March with over 61 historic banners flying in the breeze!
Festivities began on Thursday with a 2-man Scramble Golf Tourney at the prestigious Aroostook Valley Golf & Country Club.
The Friday night “Ceilidh” at the Perth-Elks was a wonderful success with a massive pipe band performance and music all night long by the Scheidler Family and the Gathering’s very own Ceilidh Band! Elks volunteers kindly prepared some wonderful traditional Scottish treats and more for those needing nourishment. A wonderful first Ceilidh at the Elks that is destined to grow with our festival!
After 12 years, our old friends – the Kincardine Pipe Band (Kincardine, ON) returned to the festival and now hold the honor on record as the largest pipe band ever to perform at the Gathering with over 40 members!
Guinness records have been attempted at the Gathering and in 2019 a record was set by long -time professionals Danny Frame and Dirk Bishop! They were able to flip the caber 16-times in a 3-minute period beating the old World Record of 15 turns! Way to go Lads!
2-days of thrilling Scottish Athletics kept many riveted to their seats cheering on 6 separate divisions of competition (Female, Lightweights, Youth, Junior, Open and Masters)! Our Nation’s top Women were highlighted all day Saturday with 10 of Canada’s best competing for the National Championships! At the end of the day, final rankings were as follows:
1st Jamie Clark (Calgary, AB)
2nd Celine Freeman-Gibb (Windsor, ON)
3rd Adena Robinson (Perth-Andover, NB)
4th Elizabeth MacDonald (Halifax, NS)
5th Kaitlyn Clark (Perth-Andover, NB)
6th Josee Morneau (Winnipeg, MB)
7th Heather Boundy (Lake St. Peter, ON)
8th Erinn Quinn (Pownal, PE)9th Wendy McCrea (Perth-Andover, NB)
10th Willow McCarthy (St. Catherine’s, ON)
Exciting Rugby 7’s were well attended all-day long at the Gathering! Competition was fierce but in end, final standings were as follows:
1st Townsview School
2nd Meduxnekeag I
3rd Victoria – Carleton
4th Meduxnekeag II
The Castalia Stone returned to the Gathering again this year and took her place of in front of center stage. As is tradition, a new “Keeper of the Stone” was appointed for the coming year. Local Scottish Athletic Competitor Wendy McCrae was sworn into her office by out-going Keeper Kevin Robinson and treated to a “wee-dram” from Castalia! Kevin will now graduate to be recognized with the dignified life honor as “Knight of the Castalia”. Check out Castalia’s Facebook page for directions and plan a visit – she loves to see old friends!!
The fly-casting competition was again very well attended along with large crowds all day at both the Axe-Throwing and Archery Venues! A wonderful Whisky-Tasting Workshop also attracted high interest. And the new “caber-twist” relay even attracted a hastily assembled team of our visiting National Women’s Athletes!
Over twenty vendors offered visitors a large assortment of Celtic retail throughout the day and everything from haggis to cotton candy along with traditional Scottish desserts were gathered and consumed!
Months of careful coordination, scheduling and planning conclude with dozens of faithful volunteers putting the wheels in motion make the Gathering of the Scots unique in Maritime Canada. There are definitely bigger highland games to experience as the summer goes along, but no other offers you that traditional mystique and home-town experience that I would like to think was enjoyed by at forefathers’ original celebrations so many years ago in a land far away!
What’s in store for 2020? That remains to be seen! But 1 thing is for sure – as the leaves begin to but in 2020, the Gathering will be back with lots of new attractions! So stay tuned!
And don’t forget – “Haste ye back” to the Gathering of the Scots again in 2020 as we will celebrate 19 glorious years! (May 28th – 31st ).