The Sherwood Park Highland Gathering is back for 2022 and is bigger than ever.
This year, the festival has expanded from a single day to an entire weekend affair (July 23 and 24), complete with performances, highland dance competitions, and Scottish heavy games at Broadmoor Lake Park.
Strathcona County was home to the 2019 event after organisers moved it from its decades-old location in Fort Edmonton. According to vice president and co-founder of the Sherwood Park Highland Gathering, Roxanne Carr, attendance went from an average of 1,500 people in Edmonton to more than 5,000 in Sherwood Park.
"2019 was our first successful year, and then COVID shut us down – but we all knew that we would wait for a sunnier day, and those sunny days are this year, 2022. We're excited to put this event on again," said Carr.
The gathering kicks off July 22 with an evening whiskey tasting event. Following that, there will be two days of highland dance competitions, pipe and drum competitions, heavy games, Lexus Art in the Park, a marketplace, a kids' zone, food trucks, beer gardens, and local talent. Haggis, of course, will be available at one of 10 food trucks at the event.
Also new this year is the involvement of the local business community; a "Paint the Town Tartan" program encourages businesses to don the plaid and provide Celtic-themed experiences to raise awareness of the gathering.
Some additional Saturday events include the Tartan Run, a 5km walk/run around Broadmoor Lake Park, and an evening Ceilidh with live entertainment.
Carr noted a doggy rest stop with treats and water will be on-site at the festival for people wanting to bring their pups to the park.
"We want the kids, the families, the dogs; bring them all!"
The Sherwood Park Highland Gathering is free to attend; some events, such as the whisky tasting, Ceilidh, and Tartan Run, are ticketed (paid) events. More details can be found here.