Connection to community
56th annual Highland Village Day set for Saturday in Iona
A traditional concert featuring various aspects of Gaelic culture will take centre stage this weekend in Iona.
The 56th annual Highland Village Day is set for Saturday from 2-6 p.m. at the Highland Village, located on a 43-acre site overlooking the Bras d’Or Lake.
The event features fiddlers, step-dancers, pipers and highlander dancers.
Rodney Chiasson, director of the Highland Village, considers Highland Village Day a community-wide event.
“Highland Village Day is one of the oldest Scottish concerts on the island,” said Chiasson. “It’s very much one of our key connections to the community and we have a good volunteer base that supports it along with the people who attend each year.”
The Highland Village opened on Aug. 4, 1962. To mark the special occasion an outdoor Scottish concert, known as Highland Village Day, was held on the site featuring traditional music, song and dance.
Today, Highland Village Day continues to be successful, showcasing the music, song and dance of Gaelic Nova Scotia.
“Highland Village Day started out as a way to raise money for the development, construction and maintenance of the Highland Village,” said Chiasson. “The proceeds from the concerts over the years have helped the village develop the way it has — it really has stayed a community event with many people planning their vacations around the weekend.”
Chiasson believes the day offers visitors a wide-range of activities.
“You’re getting a really good insight into the culture and for those that are coming home from away, they get to catch up with family and friends,” said Chiasson. “It’s a great atmosphere of entertainment and community.”
This year’s headline performers are Dave Gunning and Allie Bennett. The performance will include tributes to the late John (Jimmy Malcolm) Gillis and John Gillis.
Other performers will include the Iona Gaelic Singers, Joanne MacIntyre, the Campbell sisters from Mabou, Shelly Campbell and Allan Dewar, Joe MacMaster, Donna Marie DeWolf, Buddy MacDonald, Donnie Campbell and Jinx O’Neil, The TownHouse Players, Shannon MacKay, Kyle, Malcolm and Maryanna MacNeil, Jerry Deveau, and Kyle and Sheumas MacNeil.
The Cape Breton University pipe band as well as the Iona Legion Legends will also perform during the day.
Along with the musical entertainment, children’s games will also be on site and canteen service will be available.
Organizers are expecting between 1,000 and 1,500 people to attend this year’s event.
Admission for Highland Village Day is $15 per person. Children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. The cost will also include access to the museum throughout the day.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to hear some great performers and to hear some wonderful parts of the culture as well as meeting some communityminded folks,” said Chiasson.
Chiasson said the money raised from the event continues to support the operation of the site.
For more information on Highland Village Day visit the village’s website highlandvillage.novascotia.ca.
Visitors to the Highland Village in Iona are shown during last year’s Highland Village Day. This year’s event will take place on Saturday.