Trenton Scottish Irish Festival


by Gary McWilliams (aka Festival Nomad)

The Parade…
With a name like McWilliams, you would think that I should be interested in a Scottish Irish festival, and I was!

When I heard about the Trenton Scottish Irish Festival, I knew that it was a festival that I had to visit it! It was a beautiful sunny (almost fall) day, when Judi and I arrived in Trenton.

We got there early to make sure that we would find a good spot to view the festival’s parade. Actually, we got there a little too early.

This was a good thing, because it allowed us to get our bearings, and to find a great place to view the parade!

The parade was everything that you would expect at a Scottish Irish event and more!

There were 6 bands that participated. The sound of the pipes and drums, as always, stirred me.

The parade passed us by all, too quickly!

Opening Ceremonies…
At the end of the parade. we joined other visitors and walked to the main festival grounds.

This was where the opening ceremonies of the Trenton Scottish Irish Festival were going to take place. We found a seat in the stands and waited for the opening ceremonies to begin.

After all the dignitaries had taken their place on the reviewing stage, and had made their welcoming speeches, the Master of Ceremonies asked for the “drum major” to lead the Mass Bands onto the ceremony grounds. Two castle wall facades had been set up at the far end of the grounds. The Mass Bands, playing a stirring tune, marched through the opening. It was a very impressive sight! They followed this, by playing another amazing piece. Once they had stopped playing, the Master of Ceremonies reminded us that this year’s festival was dedicated to the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces.

In particular, to the men and women who had given their lives and had traveled so valiantly on the Highway of Hero’s. As a tribute to these fallen hero’s, a special song had been written to memorialize their sacrifices. With that, the MC called upon the Oshawa Pipe Band, the Trenton Citizen’s Band, the 413 Wing Pipes & Drums and Claidhmor to perform the tribute song “Beneath the Vigils”.

As the piece was played, I looked around the audience and could see that everyone was deeply moved. A Mass Band performance wouldn’t be complete without Highland Dancers! We were not disappointed!

The dancers ranged in age, some being very young and very cute, while others were a little older and very accomplished.

There was quite the contrast between the two age groups, but the audience loved them both! The MC then called for the Drum Major to lead the Mass Bands from the field. The official ceremonies were now over.

Once the pipes and drums had left the grounds, the Trenton Citizen’s Band began to play.

The Heavy Events and More…
We listened for a time, and then made our way to the Trenton Scottish Irish Festival’s Heavy Events.

They had just completed the Hammer Throw and were about to begin the Putting the Stone. We watched both men and women as they picked up 20 pound stones and threw them like I would toss a rock!

The power behind each throw was very impressive! It’s amazing to realize just how much training and practice is needed to into prepare for these heavy events.

Other events were to follow, including the Sheaf Toss and the Caber Toss. From the heavy games, we decided to walk to the vendor area.

There were over 70 vendors booths to explore. Products being offered include kilts, hats, jewellery, and all sort of Scottish and Irish paraphernalia .

It was a great to see that a tented area with picnic tables had been set up for everyone to stop and rest and to enjoy the many different food items being offered. There was even our favorite Simply British Foods candy booth.


Judi and I visited many of the booths and were fascinated by the products being offered. There was one disappointing discovery, however. I visited one booth, What’s in a Name, I checked their lists of Scottish and Irish names.

I didn’t see one mention of McWilliams amongst them. I was at the Trenton Scottish Irish Festival wasn’t I? I’m sure my parents told me we were of Scottish or Irish decent! Maybe not!

Perhaps I was at the wrong type of event? I believe there is an “alien” festival next week, I think I’ll visit it!

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