Arts, Dining & Entertainment

43rd annual Quechee Scottish Festival blankets polo fields

Saturday, Aug. 22 at 8 a.m. — QUECHEE — The 43rd Annual Scottish Festival will be held on Saturday, Aug. 22 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the polo fields in Quechee. Sponsored by the Saint Andrew’s Society of Vermont, it is very much a true Scottish tradition, a real family event. Proceeds go the St. Andrew’s Society Scholarship Foundation, which provides funds to worthy applicants, many of whom study Scottish dance, bagpiping, genealogy, history and Scottish heritage.

Pipe bands will play in massed band formation at 11:30 a.m. and again at the closing ceremonies at 4:30 p.m. The festival will be hosting a grade IV and V pipe band competition as well as a solo piping competition, so there’s piping all day long.

A highlight of the festival is the Vermont championship sheepdog trials. This thrilling event demonstrates the fantastic communication between handler and dog, both intent on herding a bunch of unruly sheep through a series of gates and into pens. Other features of this full day of Scottish nostalgia and entertainment are: Scottish balladeers, fiddling, and modern Scottish music including Prydein, Frost & Fire, the Brendan Carey Block Band, and Fifth Business, in the pub/entertainment tent. Over 100 young dancers from all over the Northeast and Canada will be competing in the highland dance competition. Representatives from over 50 clan societies will be present in colorful tents to meet and greet and to help research your Scottish “roots.”

Scottish meat pies, haggis, fish and chips, scones, tea (as well as hamburgers, ice cream and other American food) will be available, along with liquid refreshments. Scottish tartans, recordings, scarves, gifts, craft-items and Scottish antiques are available during the day from carefully selected vendors.

Many of the traditional heavy-weight Highland athletic events are an annual festival feature, including tossing the caber, tossing the sheath, tug-of-war, and putting-the-stone. Spectators can participate in the Ladies rolling-pin-toss, the kilted mile race (all participants must wear the kilt), plus many children’s games and races. Winners receive medals, cups and trophies.

Admission for this all-day event is $15 for adults, $10 for children 5-12, children under 5 are free. Special rates are available for groups of 25 or more. Also available is a special patron’s ticket for $45/person or $85/couple.

The festival is held rain or shine, and is located just five minutes off I-89 and just off Route 4, seven miles east of Woodstock. Ample free parking is available. Gates open at 8 a.m.; opening ceremonies begin at 11 a.m. No dogs please.

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