Scroll this page to see up-dates on the Keppoch Concert, Robbie Burns Night, Tartan Day, Clan Thompson Concert, Our Survey, the Am Baile Mòr Highland Bus Tour, Call For Volunteers, and Vendor Information. Stay up to date with the latest news from the 2018 Antigonish Highland Games.

Celebrate Tartan Day!

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The Antigonish Highland Society is hosting a 2018 Tartan Day Ceilidh. Lots of great entertainment, fiddle music, square sets, come out for the fun!

Tentative Date: Thursday, April 5th from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at Piper’s Pub. 

Best Highland Dress wins a Saturday Field Pass to the Antigonish Highland Games!

This is a free event, but donations are greatly appreciated!

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2018 Volunteer Opportunities

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The 155th Antigonish Highland Games is one of the province’s signature events and the Games success can be contributed to a great group of volunteers. There are many different events and activities that require extra hands on and off the field.

Volunteer Benefits

Volunteering with the 2018 Antigonish Highland Games is an opportunity to be a part of history as we celebrate the 155rd Anniversary of the first Highland Games held in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Volunteering allows you to meet great people, have fun, and experience the Scottish culture.
As a volunteer you will be taking on an essential and appreciated role in making the Antigonish Highland Games a continued cultural tradition. You will be a part of an active and engaging community team.

Volunteer Expectations

  • Volunteers will report to the Chair of their event or area depending on where they are positioned.
  • Whether you are a returning or new volunteer, you must attend at least one orientation meeting in order to participate in the Games.
  • If you are unable to make your shift you must notify the Festival Coordinator at (902) 863-4275 as soon as possible.
  • Loyalty, enthusiasm and clear and open communication is expected, as well as attention to workplace health and safety, kindness and courtesy to other volunteers, staff, participants and audience.

If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out the following
 2018 Volunteer Application and you will be contacted in the coming weeks to schedule shifts.

 2018 Volunteer Positions


We are looking for local friendly and outgoing personalities to field questions and requests from visitors, attendees, competitors, sponsors, patrons, clans and everything in between.
*Knowledge of the history of the Highland Games is preferred.


Main Festival Entrance
We are looking for individuals that have excellent customer service skills, are good with cash/credit/debit transactions, enjoy being in a busy-environment and are able to commit to
4-hour shifts.

Beer Ticket Sellers
We are looking for individuals that are good at handling cash transactions, are efficient and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment.
*Afternoon and in particular late-night shifts (10:00 pm -1:30 am) are required.


We are looking for individuals that have cash reconciliation experience and that are available to work late-night shifts, generally for 2 – 3 hours between 8:00 pm – 2:00 am.


We are looking for local friendly and outgoing personalities to “host” our Clans on the Saturday as well as provide excellent customer service to our Sponsors and patrons attending the Games.
*Scottish attire recommended as well as a knowledge on the history of the Highland Games preferred.

TIR NAN OG – Athletics *Friday only

We are looking for setup and support for the Track & Field aspect of Tir Nan Og. Setup is early Friday morning, 7:00 am and tear down is around 3:00 pm.
*Individuals must provide a current Criminal Record Check

TIR NAN OG – Cultural & Arts Workshops *Friday only

We are looking for individuals with an interest in Scottish cultural arts & crafts that enjoy working with children of all ages.
*Individuals must provide a current Criminal Record Check

Cultural & Arts Workshop Assistants

We are looking for individuals with an interest in Scottish cultural arts & crafts that enjoy working with children of all ages.
*Individuals must provide a current Criminal Record Check


We are looking for individuals that are outgoing and friendly and able to adapt to their surroundings, indoor and outdoors. Floaters may be requested to assist all Games Chairs as required, cover off lunch breaks, support the Field crew, run errands and everything in between.
*Scheduled shifts will be a minimum of 4 hours.

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Enter to win a 2018 Antigonish Highland Games Passport OR Value Pass!

Please fill out the following event survey and be entered to win one of a few 155th Antigonish Highland Games Passports OR Value Passes.

Your feedback is important to us and we appreciate you taking the time to fill it out.

2018 Event Survey – 155rd Antigonish Highland Games

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2018 Robbie Burns Day!

Antigonish Highland Games: Robbie Burns

Suppers to celebrate Robert Burns have been held around the world on his birthday. Burns was born January 25, 1759. His two most remembered poems are Auld Lang Syne and Ode To A Haggis. You may have your favourite like A Red, Red Rose or My Hearts in The Highlands Burns was born in Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland, and was the eldest of seven children. He spent his youth on his father’s farm. The family’s poverty was not an excuse to avoid an education. Burn’s father employed a tutor for Robert and his brother Gilbert. When he was 15 Robert Burns worked the farm and used his spare time to write. His first effort was, “My Handsome Nell”, a theme he would return to often. His poem Tam o’ Shanter drew on drink and women becoming a source to cite wherever these topics arose. The church and Brigadoon can still be seen in Alloway! In 1786 Burns traveled to Edinburgh where his ‘Ploughman’s Poems’ had a ready audience and brought him to national prominence. In 1788 Burns married Jean Armour. Robert Burns died young. He was 37. His death on July 21, 1796 occurred on the same day Jean, gave birth to his son Maxwell.

 A Fond Kiss

Fare-thee-weel, thou first and fairest!
Fare-thee-weel, thou best and dearest!
Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
Peace, Enjoyment, Love and Pleasure!

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!
Ae farewell, alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge
thee, Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage

Our 2018 ROBERT BURNS Day celebration was held at Piper’s Pub. We thank Brian MacDonald and Junior Fraser for organizing the music and playing. Brilliant step dancing was on display while the fiddle sizzled and piano pitched. Janice MacQuarrie’s Highland dancers did not disappoint. We wish them well as they travel to Scotland for the 2018 World Dancing competition. We would be remiss not to also highlight the many dancers who waited their opportunity for the Square Set. It can be said, “they gave ‘er” on the floor.

Did Duncan best Carol-Anne in the wee lads and wee lassies or was her last line, “a man’s a man for all that” extraordinarily timed? We’ll call it a draw and let it stay at that.

Peter MacKenzie did the haggis proud as he recited Burn’s Ode to A Haggis while encouraging all if ye wish her gratefu’ pray’r, Gie her a Haggis!

Peter began from memory and did not falter. Here is the famous opening:

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great Chieftan o’ the Puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang’s my arm

The evening featured Harley McCaull’s famous haggis recipe, the nips were to perfection, the tats spooned in the proper heap while the accompanying haggis left no one in doubt of its prized origin. Well done Harley! A thank you to Gerarda and Gerardine. They serve a proper portion and poured a clear and uncompromising dram. Glasses up to toast dear Robbie!

Robbie Burns night was held Thursday, January 25 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Our open invitation from the Antigonish Highland Society’s to come and celebrate Robbie Burns saw the pub filled with enthusiastic patrons. There was no charge at the door. All donations received were contributed to the dancers attending the World’s. The Antigonish Highland Society assured the door donations were topped up allow $500 was contributed to the dancers.

We thank everyone who came to celebrate and we’ll see you next year to celebrate!

William Burns’ cottage where he lived with Agnes and their children. Robbie Burns was raised in the cottage.

Burns Cottage sits beside the main road in Alloway, Aye, Scotland.

Nightshirts worn by the Burns’ children. The children’s names identify their shirt, and the dates the children were born.

The lone bed in the household where seven children and William and Agnes lived. The middle section of the cottage was a stable/barn for the animals.

A view of the interior of Burns’ cottage. Note the spinning wheel, and fireplace. There was one bed.

Various household implements that were used in the 1770 to 1796 time period when Burns lived in the Dumfries, Alloway area of Scotland.

Burns’ writing desk. It is in the Burns Museum, Alloway, Aye, Scotland.


William and Agnes Burns’ headstone in the kirkyard, Alloway, Aye, Scotland. This was the kirk made famous in the poem Tam o’Shanter.

Robert Burns wrote this epitaph. It is on the back of William and Agnes Burns headstone, Alloway, Aye, Scotland.

This Burns Monument is located in Alloway, Aye, Scotland. The monument was built in 1823. It is a 70-foot high Grecian-style temple with nine pillars representing muses from Greek mythology.

The Poet’s Path leads from Burns Cottage to Burns Museum. On the walk there is a series of weather vanes showing vignettes from Burns’ 1790 narrative poem Tam o’Shanter.

Tom and Souter Johnie are shown sitting at the pub. From the poem Tam o’Shanter, “While we sit bousing at the nappy, An’ getting fou and unco happy,”

Tam o’Shanter is preparing to leave the pub just as a storm is closing. Tam rides his grey mare Meg, from the pub where Tam and Souter Johnie, (ancient, trusty, drouthy crony) had been drinking after a market day. Tams wife Kate is waiting at home. (Whare sits our sulky, sullen dame, Gathering her brows like gathering storm, Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.)

On his ride Tam is singing (Whiles crooning o’er some auld Scots sonnets) till he spies witches, warlocks and other goblins partying in the ‘ol kirkyard. The devil himself is playing the bagpipes. “Warlocks and witches in a dance; Nae cotillion brent-new frae France, But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels Put life and mettle in their heels. A winnock bunker in the east, There sat Auld Nick in shape o’ beast: A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large, To gie them music was his charge; He screw’d the pipes and gart them skirl, Till roof and rafters a’ did dirl.”

Tam watches the dancing. He sees one young witch with a short skirt. Tam calls out to the witch, ‘Weel done, cutty-sark!’ The lights go out and the chase is on. The storm rises, “The doubling storm roars thro’ the woods; The lightnings flash from pole to pole, Near and more near the thunders roll;”

Tam and Meg flee for the bridge over River Doon with all fiends following. “So Maggie runs, the witches follow, Wi’ mony an eldritch skreich and hollow. Ah, Tam! Ah, Tam! thou’ll get thy fairin! In hell, they’ll roast thee like a herrin!

Tam spurs Meg. He makes for Brig o’ Doon. It is well known witches, warlocks and the other creatures of the underworld cannot cross a running stream. The fiendish creatures give chase with one witch reaching out to catch Tam and Meg. She pulls Meg’s tail off just as Tam reaches the River Doon to cross the Brig (bridge). “Hard upon noble Maggie (Meg) prest, And flew at Tam wi’ furious ettle; But little wist she Maggie’s mettle— Ae spring brought aff her master hale But left behind her ain grey tail: The carlin claught her by the rump, And left poor Maggie scarce a stump.”

A statute standing over six feet high of a, “Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie.” To A Mousie was a poem in the Kilmarnock volume of poetry by Robert Burn. The volume was first printed by John Wilson of Kilmarnock on 31 July 1786. “To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest With the Plough”, (written November, 1785) According to Burns lore, Burns was ploughing in a field and accidentally destroyed a mouse’s nest, which it needed to survive the winter. Burns’s brother Gilbert claimed Robert composed the poem while still holding his plough.




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Clan Thompson Pipe Band and Friends

2:30 PM on Sunday, July 1st, 2018

will present their third annual Pre-Highland Games Concert at St. James United Church, Main Street, Antigonish. In addition to selections by the pipe band, individual band members and small groups from the band, the concert will feature:

Host M.C. Stellarton Town Crier Jack Langlois,

flutist Emery Van de Weil,

violinist Luke Henderson,

accordionist Martha Palmer,

the St. James Bell Choir,

the Shelley Rovers Dancers,

vocalist Amanda MacIntosh,

and keyboard accompanist Leona Williams,


Proceeds from the concert will go to St. James United Church.

Tickets: $10. Adults; $ 5.00 Seniors; $5.00 Children 12 and under. Tickets available at the church office or from any band member. Watch this page for up-dates on guest performers.

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NEW: 2018 Am Baile Mòr Highland Bus Tour

The 2018 Am Baile Mòr Highland Tour provides a great opportunity to adventure through Antigonish’s culture and history. Traveling by the St. FX University bus, occupants will be able to explore multiple locations, with many stops featuring expert speakers.

For tickets ($30) please call Antigonish Highland Society  (902) 863-4275

Route Details:

  • Tuesday, July 3th, 2018
  • 9:00 am start at the Charles V. Keating Millennium Centre
  • Tour of the St. FX University campus
  • Tour of the Town of Antigonish
  • Knoydart, the memorial site of the Battle of Culloden Cairn
  • Travel to Arisaig wharf and cemetery. Lunch with be in the hall with entertainment and highland dancers.
  • Cape George lighthouse
  • Travel along the bay area to Ballantyne’s Cove and the Tuna Interpretive Centre
  • Cribbon’s wharf
  • Antigonish Heritage Museum with speaker Jocelyn Gillis
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2018 Criterium and Road Race

This is a new event replacing the Cape George Road Race. There will be a road race along a new route. There will be a criterium at Riverside Speedway. We have partnered with Bicycling Nova Scotia to present this two day event. Brochures and additional information will be available mid-Match.

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The Antigonish Highland Games featured on ARC!


Season 4 episode 9

“For Those About to Rock” – The teams return to Canada and race through Nova Scotia where a detour has some teams up in arms.

Episode Recap:
At the Detour, teams chose to either Feel the Rhythm or Feel the Burn. In Feel the Rhythm, dressed in traditional kilts, teams had to learn technical highland dance steps and perform the routine in unison with a group of young dancers. In Feel the Burn, teams had to complete three highland games heavy lifting events; the caber toss, farmers walk, and the stone throw. Teams Steph and Kristen, Jillian and Emmett, and Frankie and Amy all completed Feel the Burn, while teams Joel and Ashley, and Rita and Yvette chose to Feel the Rhythm.
Steph and Kristen left the Detour only seconds ahead of Jillian and Emmett and raced across the highlands grounds to the Black House Historical Site in search of the Double U-Turn board. Steph and Kristen arrived first and decided to U-Turn Joel and Ashley, while Jillian and Emmett chose to U-Turn Rita and Yvette, forcing both teams to return and complete the other side of the Detour.
For the full Episode recap

To watch the entire episode: Season 4 Episode 9

CTV Photos from the set *We will upload our own photos in the days to come.

Additional “Moments” BMO EFFECT MOMENTS OF THE RACE *Please note that you’ll have to sign in to ‘Video Login’ to view

The Story
So…now that the episode has aired, we here at the Antigonish Highland Society can share with you how this opportunity all came about…

We were approached back in February by a Producer for the show who asked if we might be interested in being a part of an episode highlighting the Highland Games as her research led her to realize that we are the longest running Highland Games in Canada.

After a few meetings and a few more partners coming on board to create the concept for the episode, we recruited not only our very own Heavy Event Games Chair, Matt Doherty to construct all of the apparatus that would be required (chopping down and scraping the bark off of the cabers but also manufacturing the farmers walk weights out of tree stumps having to weigh in a different amounts) but also three seasoned veterans of the Highland Games and one Junior competitor to showcase and demonstrate to the racers.

A huge thank you goes out to Jesse LeBlanc (Margeruite, NS), Greg Hadley (Antigonish, NS), Danny Frame (Middleton, NS) and Bryan MacLean (Moncton, NB) for their time and effort to make us look good to the nation and for representing the Antigonish Highland Games so proudly!


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*NEW SHOW: Tuesday, 16-August – Keppoch Kitchen Party

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Back by popular demand!


The Society for the Ships of 1801 is pleased to announce that they will be presenting their fourth concert on August 16th at the Schwartz Centre on the St.FX campus.

The concert is titled a “Keppoch Kitchen Party”, set in a farmhouse in the Keppoch around 1940.

This is about a hundred years after the Scottish and Irish immigrants setted in the area.

As the concert opens a family of three generations is expecting some friends and neighbors to drop in for a ceilidh. Through a short narration we get a brief sketch of the families they are expecting. At least, we get the grandmother’s perspective which is not very flattering.

Soon, a small band of musicians arrive followed by the Murphy’s from the Cross Roads. Next, we meet a family sick of farming. They’re looking for an easier and quicker way to make money. Also visiting is a family with a variety of talent, a parish priest and a piper with two daughters one of whom is visiting from Boston.

It is not long before the singing, dancing, stories and music begin. All this is interspersed with some local humor and a bit of conflict.

In actual fact, the ceilidh house played a major role in the social life of the community. It is where the news (gossip) was shared, where young people developed relationships and friendships were formed and strengthened.

For this concert we feature a number of traditional songs, a few from past shows and a couple of traditional homemade ballads. For added interest we have a Gaelic story. The performing artists are back from , “Year of the Burning, “with several new additions.

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