Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games – Day 2

In the Day 1 post I described the World Heavy Event Championships. On Day 2, I watched the Highland Dance competitions. On Sunday morning They had 4 different styles of dancing with Beginner, Novice, Intermediate and Premier categories. Each category had their own judge. And the judges switched places through the event to judge the different categories.

I arrived early to not only get a parking spot near the gate, but to also see the setup for the competition. I didn’t bring a lawn chair but that was okay, I’m used to sitting on the grass. Set myself up in the middle area – where I could see the intermediate and premier dancers.

The first event was the Trophy Fling. It was a special event and not all dancers participated. It did not count towards points but a special trophy was awarded to the winner.

The Trophy Fling is for beginner and novice dancers.

The dancers are judged on technique (80), timing (10), general deportment (10)

The “Reel” dance is performed by 4 dancers but each dancer is judged individually. The two middle dancers are back to back each facing their partner. The dance begins with a slow strathspey movement. About half way through, the tempo picks up. They then dance their figure 8s. Finally ending on the high steps.

The Irish Jig is a national dance. In the Scottish version the dancer acts a washerwoman who is angry because here husband is late getting home from the pub. When there is a male dancer, he takes the part of the husband. The dance has its own costume

Flora MacDonald’s Fancy – a National Dance that honours Flora MacDonald who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape.

And finally the Scottish Lilt.

That brought a close to the morning dances. The award ceremony was scheduled for noon but I headed out to the Tea Tent. It was cooler today and a fair amount of clouds but needed to get into some shade. I had my water bottle this time so was well hydrated.

I passed by the McKiddies area. They had activities for the kids like craft tent, outdoor curling rink, sword fights and caber toss.

The Tea Tent had scones with butter, jam and clotted cream. There was a good selection of teas and they came around with hot water to refill the teacup.

There was also musical entertainment. I sat down just at the end of the set. It was Jill Chambless and Scooter Muse from Alabama.

And it would not be a Scottish festival if there wasn’t a Gaelic singer. Gillebride MacMillan came next sharing the stage with Bob MacLean. Gaelic is Gillebride’s first language and he sang it beautifully.

I headed to the Highland Pub tent to see The Rogersons. I had read about them on the website so was looking forward to their set. They are a family band from Fergus. Each member got to sing a song. And they were multi-instrumentalists – switching instruments for each number. They played Scottish, Irish and Sea Shanty covers and were great.

I headed over to the Main Field where the Amateur Women’s Events were being held. The events were the same as the Championships the previous day. The 16lb Weight for distance was happening.

After, the Amateur Men’s Sheaf Toss. A pitchfork is used to toss a 16lb bag of straw over a beam. The beam is set a 24 feet, then moved to 26 and even 28 if necessary to determine the winner.

And while they have the beam setup in the field, the weight for height is done. A 56lb weight is tossed backward over the beam.

Went back to the stands to watch the Women’s Caber Toss. I explained the Caber Toss in the Day 1 post. This is a good example of the challenge.

Ended the day at the Highland pub for The Snake Charmer performance. She is Archy Jay and became a well known bag piper through her YouTube channel – which is where I found her. I was glad she was coming to the festival and one of the main reasons I decided to come on the Sunday. I got there early and was able to snag a chair at the front. The tent was packed and she did not disappoint the crowd. They all loved her and her band.

As I walked back to the gate, I could see the festival was winding down. The Clans and Heritage area was still busy but I had had a long day and still had to drive back to Toronto. I really enjoyed my time here in Fergus and hope to come again some day.


  1. This Ayrshire Lass says thanks for sharing your 2 days at the Fergus Games, I missed it this year. Love watching the Pipe Bands there is nothing like the sound of the pipes that makes me homesick. My great uncle played the pipes and was the Drum Major of the Ardrossan Pipe Band.

    • Thanks Jean. I did enjoy it very much. I can understand why they don’t allow dogs. It is a small park for a festival, especially when they get that many people. The only thing I missed were the coos in the Heritage village.

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