Colorado Scottish Festival returns to Snowmass Village this weekend | AspenTimes.com

Colorado Scottish Festival returns to Snowmass Village this weekend

Snowmass Village will offer a little slice of Celtic paradise beginning Friday as the Colorado Scottish Festival takes over town.

The festival, which features everything from Highland dancing and Irish piping and drumming to whiskey tastings and a parade of dogs, returns to the village this weekend for its third summer after more than 50 years on the Front Range.

"It's really just a joy being up in Snowmass," Susan Thorton said of the festival's move to the mountains. "We just love it up here."

Thorton and her husband, John, are longtime members of the St. Andrew Society of Colorado, which organizes the festival each year.

The nonprofit was established in the early 1960s — around the same time as the first festival — in an effort to support and promote Scottish culture, tradition and history throughout the state.

In its first decades, the Scottish Festival took place at Highlands Ranch in Douglas County, drawing between 10,000 and 12,000 attendees annually, Thorton said.

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While the festival significantly scaled back in size and number of attendees upon relocating to Snowmass, Thorton said, the change in venue enables the Scottish society to reach a new audience.

"We know the makeup of people from the Western Slope is heavily Scottish and Irish backgrounds; that's what we understand from demographic studies," Thorton said. "So that's a natural outreach that the St. Andrew Society would like to do."

At present time, Thorton said, "The majority of people probably come from the Front Range, though we have had people from all over the world, including an athlete who came from Japan to compete in the festival."

The Colorado Scottish Festival is an event that's "sure to have components that appeal to just about everyone," Snowmass Tourism Director Rose Abello said. "It's all sorts of fun and sometimes kookie things." (See right for complete schedule of events.)

This weekend is also projected to be a busy one — potentially the busiest of the summer — in Snowmass Village, according to Stay Aspen Snowmass President Bill Tomcich.

"This upcoming weekend is shaping up to be one of Snowmass' busiest weekends of the entire summer," Tomcich, who tracks and reports occupancy, said Monday. "The fact that this upcoming weekend was already booked to 82 percent nearly two weeks ago and is expected to crack the 90 percent mark should certainly make it the busiest weekend so far this summer."

Tomcich added, "The only future weekend that is currently outpacing it is Labor Day weekend. So I am comfortable saying this weekend is expected to be one of Snowmass' busiest of the entire summer."

erobbie@aspentimes.com

Colorado Scottish Festival – 2017 schedule of events

Friday, Aug. 4:

5 to 6:30 p.m.: Thistle Club open (badge-holders only)

6:30 to 9 p.m.: Free concert on Fanny Hill featuring Ruaile Buaile

Saturday, Aug. 5:

8 to 11:30 a.m.: Solo piping and drumming competitions (Base Village)

8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Athletic competitions (Base Village)

8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.: Celtic musicians and Irish dancers (Mall)

8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Renaissance Scots and children’s activities (hillside)

11 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Whiskey tasting (upper level of Base Camp Bar & Grill)

11 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Thistle Club open (badge-holders only)

12 to 1 p.m.: Ceremonies (concert stage)

1 p.m. to 2 p.m.: “Bonnie Knees” contest (Mall area)

1 to 4:30 p.m.: Celtic musicians and Irish dancers (Mall)

1 to 4:30 p.m.: Highland dance competitions (concert stage)

2 to 2:45 p.m.: “Parade of Dogs” and “Blessing of the Dogs” (Mall)

2:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Pipe band competitions (Base Village)

2:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Whiskey tasting (upper level of Base Camp Bar & Grill)

4 to 5 p.m.: Whiskey tasting (upper level of Base Camp Bar & Grill)

5 to 9 p.m.: “Scottish Party Under the Stars”

Sunday, Aug. 6:

8 to 11:30 a.m.: Solo piping and drumming competitions (Base Village)

8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Athletic competitions (Base Village)

8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Musicians, Highland and Irish dancers (concert stage)

8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Renaissance Scots and children’s activities (hillside)

9 to 9:45 a.m.: Kirkin’ (Blessing) of the Tartans (Mall)

10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Whiskey tasting (upper level of Base Camp Bar & Grill)

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Thistle Club open (badge-holders only)

12 to 1 p.m.: Ceremonies (concert stage)

1 to 2 p.m.: Whiskey tasting (upper level of Base Camp Bar & Grill)

2 to 2:45 p.m.: “Parade of Dogs” and “Blessing of the Dogs” (Mall)

2 to 3 p.m.: Pipe band competitions (Base Village)

2:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Whiskey tasting (upper level of Base Camp Bar & Grill)

3:30 p.m.: Conclusion of 2017 festival

Note: All events are free except admission to the whiskey tastings and the Thistle Club. Information is courtesy of Colorado Scottish Festival organizers. For more information or to purchase tickets to the whiskey tastings or Thistle Club admission, visit http://www.scottishgames.org/.

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