Chicagoland to celebrate Scottish culture and history

Chicagoland to celebrate Scottish culture and history

Chicagoland to celebrate Scottish culture and history

32nd Annual Scottish Festival & Highland Games to be held  Friday, June 15 & Saturday, June 16, 2018 at Aye-Tasca, Illinois. Explore Scottish culture and celebrate your inner-Scot…..while supporting the oldest charity in Illinois, Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care

The largest Scottish cultural organization in North America, the CHICAGO SCOTS present the 2018 Scottish Festival & Highland Games (Friday June 15 and Saturday June 16, 2018).

EVERYONE IS SCOTTISH (FOR AT LEAST ONE DAY) – This is family-friendly, two-day festival will attract 10,000-15,000 attendees. Whether you are Scottish by birth, by heritage or simply by inclination, everyone is welcome.

The Festival features an huge variety of activities and attractions – from the iconic caber toss to the largest bagpiping and drumming championship in the United States (!!!!), from whisky tasting and Celtic rock music to highland dance and children’s activities, from rugby and mini-golf and to a classic British car show and Scottish genealogy, from the dogs of Scotland and a Scottish petting zoo to a Celtic market where you can buy everything Scottish….kilts, candy, jewelry, soccer jerseys and, of course, haggis!

Scottish Festival 2018, Itasca

Scottish Festival 2018, Itasca

“It is impossible NOT to have fun at the Scottish Festival,” said Gus Noble, President of the CHICAGO SCOTS. “The event puts smiles on faces and warmth in hearts. We are excited to host our flagship event in Aye-tasca, Illinois!”



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ALL FOR A GOOD CAUSE – All of the proceeds from this Festival benefit the oldest 501(c)3 charity in Illinois, which was established in 1845: the Scottish Home and Caledonian House – now collectively known as Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care. For generations, families have turned to Caledonia Senior Living for exceptional elder care. Services include: Assisted Living, Specialized Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Respite Care. Conveniently located in a beautiful forest preserve, just a few miles west of downtown Chicago, Caledonia Senior Living is a community where friends become family. Trusted for more than 100 years.

Festival attendees will experience Scotland’s rich heritage and unique traditions. Over the past 32 years, the annual celebration has featured all Grades of pipe bands, crowned many beautiful Heather Queens, and displayed the talents of many exceptionally skilled dogs of Scotland. Of course, no Scottish Festival would be complete without the famous Haggis Hurling Contest and Haggis Eating Contest, only the brave will enter. Many men have bared their knees in the annual Men in Kilts contest and all levels of Highland Dancers have shown off their best moves. Over 500 participants throughout the years have put their creativity and taste buds to the ultimate test by joining the Shortbread Contest, and many whiskies, from the well-known, iconic brands to wee boutique distilleries, have been tasted.

Be a part of the action this year as the festival launches Friday, June 15 with exhibits and vendors open from 1:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Highlights include the ever-popular Heavy Athletics Exhibition, the Glengarry Bhoys as the Friday night headliner on the Celtic Rock stage, Whisky VIP Master Class, Solo Pipe Band Competition, an action-packed kid’s area with mini-golf, balloons, tattoos and mini athletics, and the Heather Queen competition, crowning the 2018 Queen and Court.

The fun continues on Saturday, June 16 from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Guests will be able to enjoy the thrilling Heavy Athletics including the caber toss (with participants flipping a 20-foot, 140-pound tree trunk end-over-end), the 22-pound Hammer Throw, the Sheaf Toss (where, armed with a pitchfork,  athletes launch a bale of hay over a high bar) and the Clachnert (flinging a 16-pound river stone); lively Mid-West Pipe Band Championship competition, the largest pipe band competition in the United States with over 40 pipe bands and 350 solo performances of pipers and drummers; Highland Dance competition; and an intense Rugby Sevens Highland Challenge. The Dogs of Scotland and Highland Cattle offer a chance to greet some of Scotland’s cutest furry exports. Genealogy and cultural exhibits provide insight into ancestry to kick start research on the family tree. A Parade of Clan Tartans and attendee competitions British Car Show featuring vintage automobiles, Haggis Hurling Contest for women, Men in Kilts contest, Haggis Eating Contest and Shortbread Contest are also perennial favorites. And for the young Scots, the kid’s area and activities run all day long. Whisky and Spirits tastings will be available for adults. Dine on traditional Scottish or American cuisine and peruse the Celtic Marketplace. The festivities conclude with the Closing Ceremonies and Massed Bands Show, an exhilarating concert featuring up to 1,000 bagpipers and drummers performing traditional musical selections including Amazing Grace.

Celtic Rock Stage entertainment for this year includes high energy Glengarry Boys, David Leask, and Chelsea House Orchestra.

Ticket prices for the 32nd Annual Scottish Festival & Highland Games are as follows:

Friday-Children 12 and under are FREE; Adults are $12.00; Seniors (60+) are $10.00

Saturday– Children under 3 are FREE; Children ages 3-12 $8.00; Adults are $20.00; Seniors (60+) are $15.00

Two Day Pass – Children under 3 are FREE; Children ages 3-12 $8.00; Adults are $30.00; Seniors (60+) are $25.00

Patron Weekend Pass (Family Friendly)– $360 This two-day pass includes entry into the festival (for 2 adults & 2 children), premier seating inside the Patron Tent, complimentary food and beverages, 12 drink tickets (beer included), and parking passes for both days.

Patron Weekend Pass (21 & Over)– $180 This two-day pass includes entry for one individual into the festival, premier seating inside the Patron Tent, complimentary food and beverages, 6 drink tickets (beer included), and parking passes for both days.

The festival is held at Hamilton Lakes, Itasca, Illinois, located at I-290 and Thorndale Avenue. On site parking will be available. Parking will be $5 per vehicle for parking on both Friday, June 15 and Saturday, June 16 or guests may purchase a two-day parking pass for $8. For more information, event schedules, competition registration forms or to purchase tickets, visit

The CHICAGO SCOTS would like to thank the following corporate sponsors and in-kind donors: Village of Itasca, Itasca Fire Department, Itasca Police Department, Sage Age, Roscoe Company, The Ben Riach Single Malt Scotch Whisky, The GlenDronach Distillery, Beam Suntory, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn, Hyatt Place, and Hamilton Partners.

The Chicago Scots and Caledonia Senior Living and Memory Care are parts of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society. Established in 1845, the Society is the oldest registered 501c3 charity in Illinois. In addition to offering a range of outstanding elder care services, the Society also offers scholarships and organizes events and initiatives to educate, entertain and promote both traditional and contemporary Scottish culture.


Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America. 

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

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His columns are archived here. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.

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