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  • Ryan Joyce

5 Interesting Facts About The Fergus Scottish Festival & Highland Games

For over 75 years the Fergus Scottish Festival & Highland Games has been an annual tradition in Fergus Ontario. Here's 5 interesting facts and a few cabers.

During an August weekend of pipes, drums, kilts, cabers, dance, heavies, and Scottish heritage, The Fergus Scottish Festival & Highland Games doubles the town's population.

There’s Nothing Fergus Loves More Than Wearing A Kilt!

If you've never been to our community, Fergus, Ontario, the town is rich with heritage and culture. The main streets are lined with historic buildings, churches, and old-fashioned charm. The town is divided by the Grand River that connects neighbouring communities in the Township of Centre Wellington.

The town's Scottish heritage goes back to the founders, Adam Fergusson and James Webster, who were both born in Scotland.

Templin Gardens along the Grand River in Fergus

The Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games is an annual three-day cultural festival that has been held for more than 75 years. The festival happens Friday to Sunday at the beginning of August and is the oldest festival of its kind in North America. The festival showcases Scottish culture to over 24,000 attendees each year and includes competitions leading to the World's Scottish Athletic Championship. 

The Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games are organized by a Board of Directors, an Executive Director and over 350 volunteers.

The Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games has been held every year since 1946 and attracts thousands of visitors and competitors from as far away as Scotland, England, and Wales. A list of events included traditional Scottish dancing, pipe bands, hearth lighting, tug-of-war, stone, caber tossing, hammer throw, and weight throws.

The Fergus Games are considered the best in North America.

5 Interesting Facts About the History of the Fergus Scottish Festival

  • Fact 1 - Alex Robertson organized the first Fergus festival in 1946. At that time, it was a two-day event in downtown Fergus. The festival later expanded to three days and outgrew Victoria Park.

  • Fact 2 - In 2015, the festival hosted a mass caber tossing event; 69 cabers were turned simultaneously. This overturned the previous Guinness World Record of 66.

  • Fact 3 - The 2018 Fergus Scottish Festival & Highland Games hosted the Women’s Heavy Events Championship.

  • Fact 4 - In 2008 the festival was given a grant from the government to present a concert in memory of John Allan Cameron, who was considered "The Godfather of Celtic Music" in Canada.

  • Fact 5 - The 2012 Fergus Highland Games faced a shortage of funds because of an unexpected change in their classification from the Government. It nearly ended the festival but a $50,000 loan from Centre Wellington Township help the festival to continue.

COVID-19 Impacts

The COVID-19 pandemic timing was particularly sensitive for Fergus and fans of the festival because 2020 was the Fergus Scottish Festival's 75th Anniversary Year.

Instead of in-person events, the festival went virtual for both 2020 and 2021.

We were asked to film and produce a lot of the content for their "Wee Digital Ceilidh" and "Digital Ceilidh 2 Go" Among the videos include both years Hearth Lighting Ceremonies, Heavy Events, David Leask music video and behind the scenes, plus interviews, social media marketing videos, and other digital content.

I'm most proud of the two virtual Hearth Lighting Ceremony I've shared below.

The 2020 Wee Digital Ceilidh Fergus Scottish Festival & Highland Games Hearth Lighting

The 2021 Digital Ceilidh 2 Go Hearth Lighting

Festival Links & Socials



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