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For over 150 years, Australian people of Celtic origin have converged on Geelong to celebrate their heritage at the Geelong Highland Gathering - one of the biggest and most popular displays of Scottish culture, music, dancing, sportsmanship, livestock and folklore in Australia.
Previously held at Queens Park, and then Fyansford, the Geelong Highland Gathering has now relocated to the much larger Geelong Showgrounds in 2012, allowing plenty of room for the more than 6000 people that are anticipated to turn up.
The event will, this year, be celebrating 55 years (of continuous Gatherings- the event origins date back over 150 years), and there will be plenty for visitors to experience over the course of the two days.
Saturday the 17th of March will be a free day at the Showgrounds, where visitors can watch performances of solo piping and drumming, and watch a mini band competition.
The Highland Gathering gets lots of support from the City of Greater Geelong
But Sunday the 18th of March is the day when everything Scottish gets a go.
For a small entry fee, you can see Highland and Scottish dancers, pat and view Scottish animals (including gorgeous little Scottish Terrier dogs), look at vintage cars, visit the Clan tents (and perhaps learn a bit about your Scottish ancestry, if you have one), or trawl through the market stalls. There will be massed pipe bands, a display from the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment, pipeband competitions, and strong men competing for the Australian Highlander Title.
Kids don't get left out either. There will be plenty of children's activities available, including a jumping castle, petting zoo, face painting and the 'Wee Heavy Games' (a chance for the kids to participate in sporting events similar to those that some of the adults partake in). Children can also participate in the much-loved Haggis Hurling competition, and take their Highland Passport around the event, collecting signatures and stamps from various Clan tents, Heavy Games competitors and other affiliated organizations.
There will be plenty of bagpipe and drumming performances on the day
The Geelong Highland Gathering is a fantastic day out for the whole family. Not only is there an abundance of tartan, folk singers, dancing, tasty food and handcrafts, but it's also a great opportunity to see all of the cultural aspects that make the Celtic people so unique.