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.

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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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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Vendor Information

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*DEADLINE: Friday, June 22nd, 2018

REGISTRATION: 2018 Vendor Application and Agreement

In 2018, the Antigonish Highland Games will celebrate the 155th anniversary of the first Games held in Antigonish. It will be a momentous showcase of Scottish culture.

The Games have been recognized as one of Nova Scotia Tourism’s Signature Festivals/Events, the Antigonish Highland Games has built a worldwide reputation based on authenticity, attention to detail, and hospitality. The 155th Games will be no exception.

The celebration starts Friday evening, July 6, 2018 and runs to Sunday, July 8, 2018 from Columbus Field on Main Street.  Dance, drumming and piping competitions and the Scottish Heavy events including Farmers Walk, Caber Toss, weights and hammer throw, will be featured. There will also be a blend of flavoured Ceilidhs, Clan activities, and Concerts.

The Games attracts competitors and visitors from across the country and around the world. Traditional attendance at the field is approximately 12,000 spectators over three days.

On the field there are two designated areas for vendors; one for Food Vendors and the other for Merchandise. Both are located near the Clan tent/activities and close to the entrance of the field. We also invite Corporate, Local not-for-profits, Community organizations and artisans to participate.

As a way to promote Scottish culture, the Antigonish Highland Games is always interested in having vendors serving traditional Scottish food and offering products of a Scottish/Celtic nature.  In an effort to have a sustainable event, the Games Committee asks that all Food Vendors must use only compostable plates when serving food.

Please complete the 2018 AHG Vendor Application and Agreement and enclose all proper documents and payments (payable to Antigonish Highland Society) required and mail to:
ATTN. Shaun Chisholm, Chair of Concessions
Antigonish Highland Society
20 east Main Street
Antigonish, Nova Scotia
B2G 2E9
Phone: 902-735-2792

*Drop-off location Monday to Friday, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm ONLY.
Antigonish Highland Games event office
ATTN. Jordan Hull
20 east Main Street

DEADLINE: 4:00 pm, Friday, June 22nd, 2018.

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