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Scottish Clan Displays at Highland Games
By Carole Rattray Nickels

Itís a cold snowy day in the middle of winter, not the bright sunny afternoon you attend a Scottish Highland Game in southern Ontario.  The schedules and information about the Highland Games are not fully available and posted on all the websites for all the events  to be held in the next few months.  Pipe bands are holding regular practices, dancers are attending classes and getting their outfits ready for competition and Scottish clan representatives are planning their displays for the Avenue of Clans.  The  early posting of the schedule of the annual Highland Games allows clan representative to plan which games they will be able to attend in the months ahead.

Family history has become very popular over the last few years and the interest has greatly increased with the assistance of the internet.   The Clan Societies were formed in the early 1990ís to bring together people of Scottish heritage for social activities.

Most clans have a website that shows the history of the clan,  tartan, crest, original location in Scotland and membership information.  This information has been made accessible by Alastair McIntyre and  his website,  With the interest in clans and Scottish history, many people go to the Highland Games looking to find their clan.  The best place to successfully find your clan is the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games where over fifty clan displays can be found in the Avenue of the Clans.  Other Highland Games also feature clan displays and offer helpful advice on locating your clan.  Clans are able to participate in the games by contacting the individual games Clan organizer and registering your clan.  Registration usually starts late March or early April to allow games officials to begin sending out notices and receive replies.


April  30                Toronto Police Service Tattoo                 Exhibition Place, CNE
                              And Pageant                                           Toronto

May  16-17            Celtfest  Callandar                                   Legion Branch 445, 

May 16-17             Celtic Arts Celebration                            Waterfront, North Bay

June 1-4                Glasgow Kentucky Highland Games       Glasgow, Kentucky

June 10                 Georgetown Highland Games                 Georgetown

June 10-11            Hamilton International Tattoo                  Copps Coliseum, Hamilton 

June 19-10            Brockville Celtic Festival                          Brockville

June  24                Windsor Celtic Festival                            Civic Terrace, Windsor

June 18-19            Loch Sloy Highland Games                     Fort Erie

June 24                 Hamilton Highland Games                       Ancaster Fairgrounds  

June  23-24           Cobourg Highland Game Festival            Donegan Park, Cobourg

July   1                   Zorra Caledonia Highland Games           Community Center, Embro

July   1                   Kincardine Scottish Festival                     Victoria Park, Kincardine

July   8                  Tartan Sertoma Chatham-Kent                Tecumseh Park, Chatham
                              Supreme Highland Games

July  8                    Haliburton Highland Games                     Head Lake Park Haliburton

July 15                   Cambridge Highland Games                    Cambridge

July 15                   Orillia Scottish Festival                             Orillia

July 22                   Highlands of Durham:  A Celtic                Uxbridge

July 23-24              Kingston Heritage Tattoo                         Kingston

Aug  4-5                 Glengarry Highland Games                     Maxville

Aug  5-7                 Celtic Roots Festival                                Goderich

Aug 11-13              Fergus Highland Games                          Fergus  

Aug  19                  Sarnia Supreme Highland Games           Sarnia

Aug  19                  North Lanark Highland Games                Almonte

Sept  9                   Trenton Scottish/Irish Festival                 Bayshore Park, Trenton         

Sept 16                  Owen Sound Celtic Festival                    Owen Sound   

Early registration allows Clan Organizer at Games and Clan Representative make commitments for the busy schedule



Sign at Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games showing all participating clans in the Avenue of the Clans.

The main purpose of setting up a Clan display is to promote the clans and  make visitors aware clans are an important part of Scottish history.

The early years of setting up a clan display are a learning and challenging time.  The display should include clan banner, pictures of the clan chief, clan castle (if one is still owned by the clan in Scotland), clan history books, sample of the clan tartan, clan member wearing a kilt or other Scottish wear and other items to attract visitors. Ask other members in your clan to donate or loan items for your display.  Items can be slowly added to your display over time. Other items required are a portable gazebo which can be easily transported and set up, folding tables and chairs. Some games such as Fergus will supply the tent and table for a small fee.

Some of the items on display at the Clan Elliot tent

The Rules of Golf by John Rattray  are on display at Clan Rattray

The clans are invited to march in the opening ceremonies parade at the games and allows people to recognize the clans for their participation.

Shown waiting for the Opening Ceremonies parade to begin are Clan Rattray, Clan Wallace and Clan Elliot.

Joan Arrand of Clan Rattray greeting Cathy and Bruce Elder of Clan MacIntosh

Clan Elliot display at Chatham

Joan Arrand in Chatham promoting Clan Rattray

Alastair McIntyre visiting Dorothy Knight at Clan Wallace display in Chatham

Visitors stroll down the Avenue of Clans in Fergus

John K. Campbell of Fergus in the Avenue of Clans

Clan members travel to  the games over the summer months and it  is a very exciting time. Sometimes  traveling might require getting up at 4:00 am in the morning to arrive at a game for set up at 8:00 am and leaving the park late in the afternoon.  It is amazing how much minivans can carry and how quickly they can be unloaded and loaded in a short time. 

The planning and traveling to the games is worth the effort to meet people at the displays  and share Scottish heritage. The friendships formed among the Avenue of the Clans last forever.

Carole Rattray Nickels
Clan Rattray

Note: You can see a photo shoot on the Fergus Highland Games, Ontario, Canada, 2005 where you can see lots pictures of clan tents.



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