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Fergus Highland Games
Thanks to Neil & Marie Fraser for this information


On Saturday, 10th August, 2002, the day dawned bright and clear for the 57th Annual Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games in Fergus, Ontario, a small town located about 140 km west of Toronto, which has hosted the event in Canada since 1945, the largest Highland Games with a current attendance of between 30 and 40,000 people. Visitors from across Canada and the adjacent U.S. States of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York are attracted by the three-day celebration of Scottish heritage in a town founded and settled by Scots, which retains its Scottish links enthusiastically by staging a festival that every year attracts an attendance ten times greater than the population of Fergus. Almost everyone in Fergus is involved with planning and staging the event, held on the grounds of the Fergus Community Centre.

The festival begins on the Friday evening with a major military tattoo, and really gets rolling on Saturday with the Highland Games. The field includes the Avenue of the Clans, with 44 clan societies present this year, including Baird, Barclay, Blair, Cameron, Campbell, Carnegie, Donnachaidh (Robertson), Douglas, Elliot, Fergusson, Forsyth, Fraser, Gordon, Graham, Grant, Gregor, Hamilton, Hunter, Keith, Kennedy, Kerr, Little, MacAuley, MacDougall, MacFarlane, MacInnes, Mackay, MacKenzie, Mackintosh, MacLachlan, MacLellan, MacLennan, MacNeil, Maxwell, Moffat, Murray, Pollock, Ross, Scott, Sinclair, Stewart, Stuart of Bute, Wallace and Young.

Avenue of Clans
Avenue of Clans

The major heavy events competition attracts competitors from all over North America and Scotland. Highland Dancing competitions in all age groups attract participants from around the world with several stages in use from dawn to dusk. The pipe band competition is for bands primarily in the Grades 2, 3 and 4 categories, since the event falls on the same day as the World Pipe Band Championship in Glasgow, Scotland, and best of the Grade One bands are competing overseas. Scottish and Celtic music groups perform at several venues around the site and attract large audiences. The vendors area includes tents selling all manner of Scottish goods and traditional Scottish food and beverages to the visitors, many of Scottish descent, but most of whom have never visited the homeland of their forefathers (and foremothers).

Fergus Highland Games

Fergus Highland Games

Fergus Highland Games

Fergus Highland Games

Exhibitors and competitors begin to arrive around dawn (5:30am) to prepare for the opening of the gates to the public at 9:00am. Tents, tables and chairs are provided on a daily rental basis by the organizers, and are in place before exhibitors arrive, which encourages participation by clan societies and commercial vendors. Most exhibitors are set up before the gates open and visitors can spend the entire day absorbing Scottish culture, to their hearts desire. The ongoing success of the Fergus Scottish Festival suggests that the organizers understand what people want to see, and they ensure that exhibitors and participants are well cared-for, so the event has continued to grow with every passing year.

Marie FraserMy wife Marie, seen here staffing the Clan Fraser Society of Canada tent, is more adept at getting our Scottish colleagues to relax. She made the rounds of the clan displays before the crowds converged on the Avenue of the Clans area. Apologies to those clans not represented in these photos – shown in alphabetical order – as some friends were still setting up displays, and there wasn’t time to revisit.

Clan Displays

Clan Elliot
Clan Elliot

Clan Fraser
Clan Fraser

Clan Fraser
Clan Fraser

Clan Fraser
Clan Fraser

Clan Gordon
Clan Gordon

Clan Graham
Clan Graham

Clan Hunter
Clan Hunter

Clan Kerr
Clan Kerr

Clan MacInnes
Clan MacInnes

Clan MacKenzie
Clan MacKenzie

Clan MacKintosh
Clan MacKintosh

Clan MacLachlan
Clan MacLachlan

Clan MacNeil
Clan MacNeil

Clan Moffatt
Clan Moffatt

Clan Murray
Clan Murray

Clan Ross
Clan Ross

Clan Sinclair
Clan Sinclair

Stuart of Bute
Stuart of Bute

Clan Wallace
Clan Wallace

2007 Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games
By Marie Fraser, Clan Fraser Society of Canada

The annual Fergus Highland Games on Saturday, 11 August in Fergus, Ontario, Canada were well attended again this year.  The Avenue of the Clans had 46 clan tents as well as Clans and Scottish Societies of Canada and the School of Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph. 

I think that many of the people who staffed clan tents at Fergus expected to see Alastair McIntyre, owner of the massive Electric Scotland web site, arrive with his trusty camera, to take pictures of the festivities.  However, it appears that Alastair failed to show up at Fergus because of technical problems encountered with his web site, which required his attention at home.  I sent Alastair a copy of the photo of his MacIntyre clansman, taken in the Clan Fraser tent, and, at Alastair’s request, agreed to prepare a brief report and to share some of the other pictures – hence the proliferation of images of my husband, Neil Fraser, Chairman, Clan Fraser Society of Canada…

The guest author was Diana Gabaldon, whose legion or readers of her “Outlander” series of novels always increase attendance, particularly of younger people who show up to hear Diana in person and have her autograph one or more of her books.  While Diana’s books and characters are fictional, they generate interest in Scottish history and the clan tents are usually busy after her talks, especially the Clan Fraser tent where young readers go to look for information on Diana’s fictional hero Jamie Fraser.

 
Neil Fraser with CFSC member Bruce S. Fraser & family


Neil with CFSC members Patricia & Jack Freeman (left) & Jacquelyn Fraser (right)


Neil with CFSC member Trevor Frizzle & friend of Robert Wright of Clan MacIntyre

 
Neil paying respects at Clan Mackenzie tent staffed by Kenneth MacKenzie (seated) & Alan McKenzie, Lieutenant to Caberfeidh, The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Cromartie, Chief of Clan Mackenzie

 
Neil visiting the Scottish Studies tent staffed by Prof. Elizabeth Ewan & Prof. Graeme Morton, Chair, School of Scottish Studies.

Don’t forget to register for the School of Scottish Studies Fall Colloquium at the University of Guelph (Ontario) on Saturday, September 29, 2007.  The Fall Colloquium has book displays and sales from Scottish Studies Collection and more…  For information on the fee and programme for the all-day session, including lunch & refreshments, check out their web site or send an email to Scottish@uoguelph.ca 


Marie at the Clan Fraser Society of Canada tent, late afternoon (starting to fade rapidly in the Southern Ontario heat)

Neil visited several of the clan tents at Fergus and chatted with other clan officials at length, but his excuse for not taking any pictures was, of course, that he didn’t have the camera with him…

Congratulations to Andrew Campbell, Avenue of the Clans Chairman – with a wee bit of help from his Dad, veteran John Campbell – and all the loyal volunteers who are, no doubt, already making plans for next year’s event.


 Return to Highland Gatherings

 


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