The Paris Port Dover Pipe Band is hosting their annual HaggisFest for the first time since 2020 at the Memorial Hall in St. George on Saturday, February 11.
Karen Stewart, piping instructor and board member with the pipe band, said that the event started as a vision of a couple of band members.
“HaggisFest was born many years ago when some of our members were having a competition trying to see how many different forms of Haggis they could find at the Highland Games events,” she said. “We decided it would be fun to have our own little Haggis event in 2009 and after outgrowing our house parties we decided to turn it into a band fundraiser.”
Attendees receive a night filled with live music from the pipe band and other performers while enjoying a variety of haggis dishes.
The event happens at the beginning of each year, which Stewart said is not by coincidence.
“We typically run the event close to the traditional Robbie Burns dinner (a day observed in Scotland to celebrate his life and work,)” she said. “We’ve always been in and around the same timeframe, but we just never called it a Robbie Burns dinner. It’s more of an updated and fun and casual night, still celebrating Scottish culture and heritage but just not quite as formal as Burns dinner would be.”
The Paris Port Dover Pipe Band was founded in 2000 in Paris, before expanding to Port Dover. They are made up of 70 pipers of all ages and provide surrounding communities with music year round.
“We do a lot of local events, but we also get to do some international events, and some are pretty cool,” Stewart said. “We’ve had some pretty amazing experiences playing with Paul McCartney and with Rod Stewart, and we’ve been able to play some pretty amazing venues in our history together.”
The band calls Memorial Hall in St. George home, and HaggisFest is a way to say thank you to the community for their support
“We partnered with the South Dumfries Historical Society and they have this fantastic Memorial Hall and they offered to let us be one of their exclusive renters for many years,” Stewart said. “We have the full hall to practice and it suits our needs. It is a fantastic hall for our band needs and it was supporting another local organization, so having HaggisFest there is perfect because it is a space we are comfortable in and it gives us a chance to show what goes on there.”
Tickets for the event are $30 and can be purchased at https://www.ppdpb.com/haggisfest. For more information on the Paris Port Dover Pipe Band, visit their Facebook page.