Mass-ive weekend party


By Josh Howald

More than 280 pipers and drummers marched down Queen St. in Kincardine Saturday night, followed by thousands of fans.

The Saturday night march was the highlight of the 25th annual Gathering of the Bands on the weekend in Kincardine. (Josh Howald photo)


The 25th annual Gathering of the Bands was held Saturday, and received a tremendous response from visiting bands, Scottish music enthusiasts, tourists and locals.

"I don't think it was the biggest one ever, but it was certainly the biggest we have had in eight or nine years," said Norm Annetts, who has helped organize the event since it first started.

More than 100 locals volunteered in some capacity - cooking or serving up hot dogs and corn, tending the bar or cleaning the park. The Toronto All-Star Big Band, the Kincardine Community Concert Band and other visiting bands entertained a near-capacity crowd at Victoria Park Saturday afternoon.

More than 4,400 cobs of corn were consumed Saturday, as well as nearly 4,000 hot dogs.

"It was a very, very successful day," said Annetts. "It is good for the public. There was no admission charge, there never is, and I think that is important. We're not a rip-off, with offering all-you-can eat for $6!"

After the massive corps of pipers and drummers prepared to join the Kincardine Scottish for the Saturday night march, thousands of people lined the street to hear, and get a glimpse of, the show.

Pipe major Jennifer Farrell of the Kincardine Scottish Pipe Band said that a total of 281 pipers and drummers registered to march in the Saturday night parade.

Following the march and performance in Victoria Park, The Pleats also provided entertainment for the crowd.

"The next day by 10 a.m., you could hardly even tell the event took place," said Annetts. "Volunteers were there cleaning up, as well as the municipal crews to get ready for the (Monday) market."

"It was just an awesome weekend," said Farrell. "We just saw so many people with smiles on their faces."

Kincardine also celebrated the third annual Marine Heritage Festival on the weekend, highlighted by a visit by the Toronto Brigantine Tall Ships, the Playfair and Pathfinder.

Sunset cruises were available Friday night, and the boats were available for tours on the north pier Saturday. Cardboard boat races were held Saturday morning, and an art show ran alongside the tours of the Tall Ships. There were also marine-themed activities for children in McPherson Park, as well as tours of the Kincardine Lighthouse and museum.