Rain won't dampen Highland fling

EVEN if their kilts are soggy and their pipes filled with rain, the show will go on at the 105th Easter Highland Gathering this weekend.

Weather forecasts have predicted a chance of showers for Maclean's biggest weekend of the year, but Chief Peter Smith of the Lower Clarence Scottish Association said the gathering will be on rain, hail or shine.

“We have a wet weather venue organised, but we're hoping we won't need it,” Mr Smith said.

Twenty five pipe bands, more than 100 dancers and around 600 competitors are expected to start arriving in the Scottish town today for the annual Easter event.

Entertainment will include highland dancing, pipe bands on parade, solo piping competitions, a massed band display, a street parade, drumming events, and the Highland games.

The weekend gathering usually attracts crowds of around 8-9,000 people and weather permitting, Mr Smith said that was the kind of crowd they were expecting again this year.

“On Saturday we usually get a lot of tourists coming to Maclean to see the march so that's always a big day,” he said.

The fun and games begin on Easter Friday at the Maclean showgrounds with the solo piping and drumming from 12:30pm.

On Friday night pipers will compete in the open piping contest for the gold medal, held in the Maclean Civic Hall.

“It's possibly one of the most prestigious piping events in Australia,” Mr Smith said.

Also on Friday night Scottish fans can head along to McLachlan Park for the 'ceilidh in the park'.

Bands and dancers will be performing from 7.30pm until late.

On Saturday the 'bands on parade' street march kicks off at 8.30am along Maclean's main street and then all of the action can be seen at the showgrounds including Scottish dancing, music and the always entertaining Highland sports.

Everyone is welcome to take part in the Scottish games including tossing the caber, the Highland log wrestle, the farmer's walk and of course the kilted dash plus more.

This year two special piping judges will travel across the ditch from New Zealand for the gathering, Lewis Turrell and Brian Switalla.

Check tomorrow's Daily Examiner for the Highland games program for Friday or go to www.macleanhighlandgathering for more information.

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