The 2023 Chicago Scots Scottish Festival & Highland Games is going to the dogs.
It’s also moving out of Itasca after being held there a final time Friday, June 16 and Saturday, June 17.
As for the canines, the nonprofit Chicago Scots held a preview event Saturday, June 3 at Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care in North Riverside featuring one of the attractions that will be at the organization’s big event. Caledonia Senior Living & Memory care is the principal charity supported by Chicago Scots.
That afternoon, the Agility Junkies, Inc. from Lake Barrington presented a demo and held a meet and greet with between visiting canines and facility residents. It offered a sneak peak of the Dogs of Scotland part of the festival and games.
Chicago Scots President and CEO Gus Noble said the talented dogs are but one of the attractions at this year’s gathering of the clans.
The festival and games will offer cooking demonstrations that Saturday from Scotland’s national chef, Gary Maclean.
The Midwest Pipe Band Association’s competition at the festival and games will feature musicians from 56 bands, Noble said. That makes this the largest competition of its kind in North America. A new feature will be a Grade-1 pipe band competition, Noble said.
Those happen along with the usual Celtic marketplace for those shopping for kilts, cookies and an array of other goodies; a whisky and spirits tasting area; clan tents; crafts and games for kids; live music; Highland dancing competitions and, of course, the big folks taking part in the heavy athletics and its signature event, the caber toss.
In 2022, lines and waits for food and drink grew long. Noble said that was due to the economy. Some vendors had staffing issues. Others weren’t able to attend.
So this year, festival and games organizers will have booths they will run along with outside vendors to keep appetites fed and thirsts quenched.
As for a final fling in Itasca, the move comes about because the Hamilton Lakes business park where the event has been held in recent years is doing its job, Noble said. It is attracting more companies to locate there. At the same time, Noble said the festival and games have been growing, too.
Noble said he expects the location for the 2024 event will be announced sometime shortly after this year’s get-together. It will be somewhere in the Chicago suburbs, he said.
For tickets and more information on the 37th annual Chicago Scots Scottish Festival & Highland Games, click here.