Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games takes events online
Published Sunday, August 9, 2020 7:47PM EDT
FERGUS -- Organizers of the 2020 Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games have taken many of the events online.
What would have been the 75th anniversary of the celebration was postponed from this weekend to next year due to the pandemic.
“It’s arguably the biggest Scottish festival in Canada,” said David Radley, president of the Fergus Scottish Festival. “So we tried to keep that up.”
The festival is now being hosted virtually across three days.
“We called it the ‘Wee Digital Ceilidh,’” said Radley. “It’s on our website and our Facebook page.”
Videos that celebrate the town’s Scottish roots are being showcased across the platform.
“There’s the pipes and drums, there’s dance,” said Canadian Senator Robert Black. “Heavy events and the culture and the heritage.”
Several in-person performances are also popping up around town featuring the local pipe band, brass band, and Scottish dancers.
“We’re kind of looking at this as an extraordinary event for an extraordinary time,” said festival coordinator Elizabeth Bender. “We did a decorating competition, pain the town tartan, and had a chance to decorate homes and businesses.”
Radley says on a regular festival weekend they usually bring in 21,000-22,000 people over the course of the weekend.
Organizers estimate the financial impact of the cancelled event is about $3 million.
“We always get a lot of sales and a lot of amazing people coming in from all over,” said Carley Fryer, an employee at One and Only marketplace in downtown Fergus. “I’ve seen a lot of local people come here though, a lot of people coming out and just supporting.”
Organizers say the festival and games next year will be bigger and better than ever before.