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Mostly Cloudy,42°
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Stepping Out
Be a Scot for a day
There’s more than just kilts at the L.I. Scottish Festival
By Karen Bloom
Courtesy Vince Kish
Cherished traditions: Colorful pipers step smartly among the many festival visitors as they honor a treasured heritage.

The end-of-summer spectacle that is the Long Island Scottish Festival and Highland Games returns to its longtime home at Old Westbury Gardens on Saturday, Aug. 23. Scots and non-Scots alike welcome the yearly day of fun and games as the lush grounds of this landmark estate fill with the sounds of piping and related activities, co-hosted by the Long Island Scottish Clan MacDuff.
With those bagpipes, the caber tossing and highland dancing — along with a myriad of other entertainment and assorted revelry for lads and lasses — the festival stands out as one of the highlights of the season at Old Westbury Gardens. There’s plenty
to delight all ages, along with Scottish treats to enjoy.
It is believed that the games were begun by the ancient highland chieftains to help them select the strongest men for their armies. Those age-old traditions continue today in the form of caber tossing, Putting the Stone, Tossing the Sheaf, piping and drumming.
“It’s a cliché, and typically an exaggeration, to suggest that an event features ‘something for everyone’,” says Old Westbury Gardens spokesman Vince Kish. “But in the case of the Scottish Festival and Highland Games, it’s actually an understatement. The concerts, competitions, kids’ events, antique auto display, pirate show, the vendors selling all things Scottish — virtually everywhere you turn, all day long, there is something — and more often than not a number of things going on. I’ve been to this festival at least 25 times, and I never get tired of it.”
“The Clan MacDuff knew they had found a home when they first came here in 1977.And they’ve been back every since.”
The festival is one of many similar events that continues to uphold Scots culture and history throughout the nation and internationally, but is the only one of its kind in the metropolitan area, according to Clan MacDuff.

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