Celebrate Scottish Heritage at the Queen Marys Scotsfestival
26th Annual Scotsfestival and International Highland Games at the Queen Mary in Long Beach
Grab your kilts and celebrate during the two-day ScotsFestival, honoring true Scottish culture February 16th and the 17th.
So what's the connection with The Queen Mary and the ScotsFestival & International Highland Games? Well if you didn't know the Queen Mary was built in Clydebank, Scotland, launched in 1934 on the River Clyde for the Cunard Line, and set on its maiden voyage in 1936 from Southampton to New York. We visited opening day to experience all the rich culture and history of Scotland first hand through authentic activities, athletics, dancing, entertainment and cuisine in ode to the Queen Mary’s Scottish legacy.
Wondering where to begin your days activities? Start out with the traditional Address to the Haggis at 11 a.m. in the Exhibit Hall where the Queen Mary’s Executive Chef Todd Henderson will cut and serve the Haggis in honor of the customary Scottish cultural celebration. Following the Address to Haggis, at 12 p.m. gather for the exciting Grand Parade of Clans & Bands. Sunday, February 17 at 9:15 a.m., begin the day with the Kirkin, a traditional Scottish non-denominational mass with live piano music and singing.
Honoring nearly fifty Scottish clans and host to tens of vendors throughout the weekend, the threat of rain and the cold conditions didn't keep the kilt wearing men and women away from the Queen Mary. Everywhere you looked the sights and sounds of professional and amateur competitions in piping, drumming, massed bands, darts, Highland dancing, and Highland athletics could be seen and heard. Ah and for the Druthy (thirsty) ones the ScotsFestival offers whisky tastings and seminar sessions with aged malt experts every half hour beginning daily at 10:30 a.m. Grey Friar’s Pub opens on-board the ship beginning Friday, February 15 through Sunday, February 17, from 6 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Let's dance! The competition was brutal, some shined and others didn't fair as well. In the end it was very interesting to watch the drama unfold and see where the last dancer standing. I have a whole new appreciation for these athletes.
Both men and women performed a variety of traditional Scottish dances, including the Highland Fling, the Sword Dance and even the Scottish Lilt. This is serious stuff and the competition was on while we were on board the Queen Mary. Different age groups were battling it out for the best in their category all to a live bagpipe player under the watchful eyes of the judges.
One word of advice, Come hungry! (okay that was two) From Hoagies to Brats and Shepherd's Pie, all the regulars for a Scottish festival were there. They even had a Tea room with scones, proper and all you know.
Enjoy LiveSheep Herding demos with the Boarder Collies, falconry demonstrations, axe throwing and archery competitions. ! The Highland games were interesting and from the VIP tents you got a great upfront view too (also shelter from the scattered showers) and easy access to the libations. There was some serious weight being flung around, yikes!
There was plenty of Muckin’ aboot (playing around) for the wee laddies & lassies too. They were able to witness Queen Mary’s coronation, knighting ceremonies and even take part in the Wee Highland games including youth competitions in caber toss, archery, potato sack races and tug o’ war.
Looking for a proper dress? Check out Medieval Collectibles! This dress is beyond perfect: Girl's Scottish Tartan Dress.
Definitely a step out of the norm, the Scotsfestival had something for everyone. One thing I can say, I do love the variety of family events that are offered at The Queen Mary, when was the last time you visited?
Tickets to the 26th Annual ScotsFestival and International Highlands Games are on sale now and start at $25 online (ages 12+) and $12 online (ages 4-11) for one day general admission. VIP tickets start at $45 online and include VIP entry, access to the shaded VIP Lounge, (1) drink ticket, and access to Ceilidh.