Following the success of the last three years, once again the picturesque town of Oban is extending a warm welcome to visitors from near and far this winter with events for all the family across 10 days of festivities from 21 to 30 November as part of the Scotland’s Winter Festival programme.
At the heart of this year’s festival will be a series of special St Andrew’s Day themed activities on Saturday 29 November.
Local butchers Mark Grant from Grants the Butchers of Taynuilt and James Paterson from Jackson Butchers in Oban were at Oban Distillery today going head to head ahead of Haggisfest, a unique celebration of the great Scottish staple which will see seven butchers and haggis-makers from Argyll all cooking up a storm with a chance to win the coveted ‘Golden Haggis Award’.
Haggisfest will open to the public on Saturday 29 November at midday and will be judged by local chef and restaurant owner Alex Needham and chef and manager of the Manor House Hotel, Gregor MacKinnon. The public will have the chance to taste all the entries and vote for a ‘People’s Choice’ award whilst enjoying a free tipple. Alongside Haggisfest, visitors can browse the Scottish Food and Craft Market in the Old Distillery cask room at Oban Distillery and watch the Tartan Dash as the race makes its way through the town.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, said: “St Andrew’s Day marks the start of Scotland’s Winter Festivals and is the perfect opportunity to celebrate all that is great about Scotland – including our thriving contemporary culture, our rich heritage and our world-renowned warm and friendly welcome. “That’s why, once again, we are proudly encouraging Scots and Scots at heart from around the world to join us in celebrating our national day at one of hundreds of brilliant events and attractions taking place across Scotland – including at the Oban Winter Festival, which has an exciting line-up of St Andrew’s Day themed activities.”
The Oban Winter Festival is part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals – a programme of events supported by the Scottish Government and managed by EventScotland.
The 2014 festival will encompass parades, ceilidhs, live music, art exhibitions, markets and more at venues throughout the town. Locals and visitors are invited to take part in a celebration that is certain to light up dark winter days and evenings.
Atlantis Leisure Centre football pitch will be the venue for an all new Haggis Hurling event, followed by the Family Science and Circus Show.
At 8pm the St Andrew’s Day Grand Ceilidh will open. Oban Pipe Band will welcome visitors to the Argyllshire Gathering for a night of top class entertainment featuring traditional music, song and dance to celebrate Scotland’s national day in style – an event not to be missed!
Also new for 2014 - the Ghost Walk will be led by Three Wee Crows, one of Scotland’s most innovative theatre companies. Employing their passionate, moving and entertaining style, Three Wee Crows will lead groups on a spooky walk around the grounds of Dunollie House.
Further announcements for this year: The Family Competition returns – a chance for mums and dads to show off their craft skills! Make a ‘Tartan Scene in a Shoe-box’ and your box will be displayed in venues across Oban. Entries should be submitted to the Corran Halls by 16 November.
The Festival Finale on the evening of Sunday 20 November will feature circus skills from Circus Alba; the Lantern Parade led by Oban High School Pipe Band with performances by the newly formed Youth Samba Band; performances by local choirs, a ceilidh band and the spectacular Finale Fireworks. Local children will help build the Big Lanterns for the Lantern Parade this year and the theme will be ‘The Salmon, The Stag, The Wool and The Water’.
For more information and full listings for the Festival go to www.obanwinterfestival.com or pick up a programme from the local Visitor Information Centre; North Pier, Oban PA34 51D