Your Ultimate Guide to the 2019 Hawaiian Scottish Festival & Highland Games
Grab your kilt and get your canned haggis fix at the 38th annual event on April 6 and 7.
Photos: Courtesy of Hawaiian Scottish Association
Am I the only one who’s never had canned haggis? If you’re in the same boat and want to learn more about Scottish history and heritage, head to the Hawaiian Scottish Festival & Highland Games. Hopefully by the end of the event, you’ll have tried the traditional dish and learned a whole lot more about the merging of the Scottish and Hawaiian cultures in the Islands.
What It Is
The festival, organized by the nonprofit Hawaiian Scottish Association, brings together all sectors of the Scottish community in the Islands and even from the Mainland and abroad. Festival organizer (and the association’s chieftain) Gregg Fraser says the event celebrates the relationship between Hawai‘i and Scotland forged many decades ago when Scottish businessman Archibald Scott Cleghorn married Princess Miriam Likelike. Their daughter, Princess Victoria Ka‘iulani, was born in 1875.
Catch live entertainment, including sports, hula hālau, song and dance, along with swordplay, weaving and fencing demonstrations, and traditional food and crafts. Learn more about each clan’s heritage by visiting their booths.
When and Where
Head to McCoy Pavilion at Ala Moana Beach Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, and Sunday, April 7.
How Much It Costs
Entrance to the festival is $5 per person. Military and their families, along with seniors, can enter for $3. Children under 10 years old are free.
Where to Park
Fraser says there should be plenty of free parking at Ala Moana Beach Park.
What to Eat and Buy
Get your shopping on by visiting any (or all) of the 20 vendors selling Scottish wear, Celtic clothing, jewelry, musical instruments, housewares, canned haggis (pudding made with the liver, heart and lungs of a sheep or other animal, mixed with beef and other seasonings), Scottish beer and more.
The opening ceremony and parade begin at noon on both days, followed by a dance competition, bagpiping and other cultural demonstrations from local groups, as well as a handful from the Mainland, Scotland and Canada.
A popular part of the festival is the Highland Games competition, featuring sports such as the caber toss, a complicated event that involves throwing an upright long log; the stone putt, similar to the shot put; and hammer throw, in which participants fling a 16- to 22-pound metal ball attached to a shaft. For a schedule of the games, click here. If you’d like to participate, register here. Applications submitted after March 1 will be accepted if there is space available.
Organizers also put on a solo bagpiping competition honoring the late Aggie Wallace, a renowned local piper and teacher. The competition is from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. If you’d like to enter the competition, register here for piping and here for drumming.
For the entertainment schedule, click here. A complete lineup should be posted this week.
Bring cash just in case your favorite vendors don't accept cards. There will also be an ATM on site.
Dress comfortably and bring water. Be prepared for hot weather.
Bathrooms are located in McCoy Pavilion.
Plan your day. Fraser estimates the festival draws about 5,000 people over two days. Peak times include the opening ceremonies and parades at noon on Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, visit hawaiianscottishassociation.org.