By

Chicagoland may be a world away from Scotland, but locals can get their fill of the country’s culture – and competition — during an upcoming festival and highland games, the largest of its kind in the Midwest.

On Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18, the continent’s largest Scottish cultural group, the CHICAGO SCOTS, will host its annual Scottish Festival and Highland Games.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the event will be located at Hamilton Lakes, 1 Pierce Place, Itasca, Illinois.
For its anniversary, the family-friendly event aimed at exploring Scottish culture promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Over the years, over 10,000 attendees have experience Scotland’s rich heritage and unique traditions during the annual celebration that features pipe bands, a haggis-eating contest, a Men in Kilts competition and all levels of Highland dancers.

When the festival begins Friday, June 17 from 4 to 10 p.m., highlights will include the ever-popular Heavy Athletics Exhibition, the band Enter the Haggis as the night’s headliner, Whisky VIP Master Class, Solo Pipe Band Competition, and an action-packed kid’s area with mini-golf, balloons, tattoos and mini athletics. The day will also feature the Heather Queen competition, crowning the 2016 queen and court.
The fun continues Saturday, June 18 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Guests can enjoy Heavy Athletics, including the Caber Toss — where participants flip 20-foot, 140-pound tree trunks; the 22-pound hammer Throw; the Sheaf Toss where athletes launch a bale of hay over a high bar and the Clachnert, which involves flinging a 16-pound river stone.

The schedule also includes the Midwest Pipe Band Championship competition with over 20 pipe bands and 300 solo performances of pipers and drummers. There’s also a Highland Dance competition; an intense Rugby Sevens Highland Challenge; and a Coerver Cup 3v3 youth soccer tournament. What’s more, genealogy and cultural exhibits provide insight into ancestry to kick start research on the family tree.

For a full schedule of events, click here.

Interested in going?  Ticket prices are as follows:

Friday: children 12 and under are free; adults are $12 and seniors ages 6-and-up are $10.
Saturday: children under 2 are free; children ages 3 to 12 are $5; adults are $20 and seniors get in for $15.
There are also two-day-pass options where children under 2 are free; kids ages 3 to 12 are $5; adults are $30 and seniors are $25.

A variety of family passes are also available. For more information on pricing, or to purchase tickets, go online here.
What’s more, proceeds benefit CHICAGO SCOTS’ charities that provide assisted living and memory care at The Scottish Home and The Caledonian House.

“Each year we invite participants, whether Scottish by birth, by heritage, or simply by inclination to join us, and each year we are overwhelmed by the response to our festival,” said Gus Noble, President of the CHICAGO SCOTS. “This year’s event promises to be our most exciting celebration yet, highlighting 30 years of Scottish arts and entertainment, athletics, and culinary specialties.”