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Get ready to see plaid with Scottish Festival in June

The culture and competitions of Scotland come to Chicagoland when the 28th Annual Scottish Festival & Highland Games takes place on the third weekend in June.

“This is the largest and best Scottish festival in the Midwest,” boasts Gus Noble, president of the Chicago Scots which hosts the event. “We pride ourselves on making families feel like they’ve been transported to Scotland for a weekend of fun while enjoying a unique opportunity to learn more about Scottish culture.”

Held at Hamilton Lakes in Itasca, the festival starts on Friday, June 20, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., and includes a Highland dance competition, heavy athletics, rugby exhibition, Celtic music and the crowning of the Heather Queen and her court.

The festivities continue from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 21, with musical competitions in piping, drumming and dance. Rugby and soccer tournaments are slated as well as athletic contests including the caber toss, the 22-pound hammer throw. A shortbread contest as well as a knobbly knees contest for are among the day’s more unique competitions.

The event also includes the Dogs of Scotland; genealogy and cultural exhibits; a parade of Clan Tartans; vendor booths, and various children’s activities, with a grand finale performance of 1,000 bagpipers and drummers.

Admission for children two years of age and younger is free. Discounted weekend passes are available for the festival which takes place at Hamilton Lakes in Itasca, at I-290 and Thorndale Avenue. Parking ($5 for each vehicle or $8 for a two-day pass) is available. For more information, visit www.chicagoscots.org or call 708-447-5092.