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.

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A Keppoch Wedding:
Three Shows Wednesday, July 4th, Thursday, July 5, Sunday, July 8

Romance is in the Keppoch Mountain air this summer as stylish Boston Bessie Beaton brings home an Irish lad to marry. You can be sure there will be fiddles, dancing, stories and songs but with the church gone, the marriage will have to take place in the Ceilidh House with three generations of MacLeans hosting the big do.

Bessie has a list of ideas for as elegant an event as ever happened along Boston’s Charles River but you may be sure matriarch Maggie MacLean has organized a wedding or two in her days so sparks are apt to fly on the Keppoch.

Before the wedding can get underway the Keppoch folk have a long winter of news to catch up on. An Irishman from up the mountain brings a story of a ruckus at a dance and a MacDonald fiddler stops to try out a new tune. Michael Lauchie drops in to give a glowing report of his moonshine trial and the comforts of Antigonish jail. More importantly, he is in a new line of business which means the wedding, God help us, may be a dry one.

Next to visit is that damned, nosy Mountie who is starting to get on Dunc’s nerves, still investigating the disappearance of a wayward sheep with a crooked horn.

But never mind all that, the cast, musicians and crew are all back from past shows, the priest is on his way, the bride is getting dolled up and it is likely word of a wedding will draw out an odd character or two. If you’ve been with us for the ceilidh and the anniversary/wake, you certainly want to attend the wedding of the season. If you’re new to the Keppoch shows, pull up a chair, tune your ear for the Gaelic and enjoy the wit and warmth of highland hospitality.

The Society for the Ships of 1801 is pleased to announce that they will be presenting  A Keppoch Wedding at the Schwartz Centre on the St.FX campus.

The concert is set in a farmhouse at the Keppoch around 1940. This is about a hundred years after the Scottish and Irish immigrants settled the area.

It is not long before the singing, dancing, stories and music flows from the Ceilidh House. 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 was where news, community gossip, and fun was shared, where young people developed relationships and friendships were formed and strengthened.

In this concert time-honoured songs, a few hits from past shows and several new traditional style “homemade” ballads help tell a great story. By now it is apparent the show must have a Gaelic story. You won’t be disappointed! The performing artists are back to celebrate A Keppoch Wedding. Come along and celebrate with them!

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*NEW SHOW: — July 2018 —Clan Thompson Concert

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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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2018 Grand Street Parade Registration is open!

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2018 Parade Registration Form
Antigonish Highland Games: Piping and Drumming School
The Antigonish Highland Games Grand Street Parade has become an annual Saturday morning family tradition for many Antigonish residents and visitors. Thousands of people line West and Main Streets to watch the many floats, vintage cars, and visiting pipe bands move through town.

As the unofficial kick off to the weekend field events, the Grand Street Parade begins on the StFX campus at the Charles V. Keating Millennium Centre and moves down West Street onto Main Street to end at the entrance to Columbus Field.

The parade is preceded by the Elite Mile Road Race, a high-caliber race including only 15 of the fastest males and female competitive racers in the area. The Elite Mile Road Race starts at 8:50 a.m. using the same route as the parade.

Once the runners have sprinted to Columbus Field, the vintage cars, marching bands, community organizations and businesses, and many other participants make their way to the field.

Cash prizes are available for first, second, and third place entries in the following categories: Best Vintage Car, Best Commercial Float, and Best Non-Commercial Float.

Entries who are registered to participate in the parade are asked to arrive at Millennium Centre no later than 8 a.m. using the entrance to StFX via St. Ninian Street. Judging begins at 8:15 a.m. followed by the presenting of the plaques and prizes. Judging will be based on presentation of the entry including the decoration, costumes, music, etc.

Please Note:

  • Pre-registration is mandatory.
  • Have a copy of your insurance on hand Saturday morning for the Parade Chair. Proof of insurance is needed in order to participate.
  • The Elite Mile will precede the parade.
  • Prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each division will be given out prior to the parade.
  • Parade signs must be returned to Club 60 immediately following the parade.
  • Candy can be passed out by persons accompanying a float.
  • It is illegal to throw anything from a parade float.


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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!

Date: Wednesday, April 4th, 2018, 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 at the door are greatly appreciated!

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2018 A Keppoch Wedding

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Please click on A Keppoch Wedding to read more information! ‎

The concert is presented by The Ships of 1801 Society.

The Ceilidh House is the beating heart of Scottish culture in the hills and harbours of northern and eastern Nova Scotia. Bagpipes, kilts, oatmeal porridge and whisky, or the water of life as some believed it,  are all captivating glimpses of the pioneering Scots’ story. It is often the humble Ceilidh House where oral tradition, community gossip, song, dance and stories keep alive a vibrant culture which has endured in story and song for almost 250 years. The 2018 Ships of 1801, Keppoch Concert, focuses on Bessie’s wedding to an Irish lad.

High on the mountain, neighbours are gathered for a wedding. The girls from Boston have come home. One with her Irish beau!  Joe, who clings stubbornly to the Gaelic, and his razor-tongued wife, Maggie are back.  The burdens of hard toil and family struggles slip there bounds as a wedding brings the family together for an evening of stories, songs, wit, humour and the occasional burst of sarcasm.

Many of the Ships of 1801’s original performers are returning to the stage and we also welcome a few new additions for this two- hour show, to be presented at the Schwartz auditorium on ST. FX campus, July 4th, 5th, and 8th. Doors open at 7 pm with show time at 7:30 pm. Admission is $25 adults and $10 youths under 10. Parking is available on campus and in St. Ninian’s parking lot.

Please note: There will be no Saturday evening concert in 2018.


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The 2018 Antigonish Highland Games

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Antigonish Highland Society The Antigonish Highland Society is pleased to announce the 2018 Antigonish Highland Games will take place from the 1st to 8th of July, 2018 in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

In the lead up to the Games itself, Games Week runs from July 1st to 8th and features an array of cultural and entertainment events in Antigonish Town & County.

Stay up to date on the latest additions to the Antigonish Highland Games and Games Week by visiting out Event Schedule.

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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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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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