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The Chronicle Herald
The 25th annual Hector Festival takes place at the deCoste Centre in Pictou on Friday and Saturday.
The festival is a celebration of the region’s Celtic music and heritage and recognizes the role the Ship Hector played in Canadian history.
Headlining this year’s event are The Barra MacNeils in their only Nova Scotia appearance this summer on stage Friday at 8 p.m.
The six siblings — Sheumus, Kyle, Stewart, Lucy, Ryan and Boyd — hail from Sydney Mines, Cape Breton. Multiple lead vocalists, beautiful harmonies, instrumental prowess on a wide variety of acoustic, stringed, percussion and wind instruments blend with dancing, storytelling and Gaelic songs in the show.
The Hector Ceilidh takes place on Saturday at 8 p.m. with a host of musicians, including singers, dancers, pipers and fiddlers. Hosting the ceilidh will be Jimmy Sweeney, joined by Ardyth & Jennifer, Alycia & Robert Putnam, John Spyder Macdonald and Robbie MacInnis. Also taking part will be Na Gais Gich Pipe Band from the town of Pictou.
A Highland Dance competition all day Saturday will see dancers from around the Maritimes competing for specially minted Hector medals. To mark the 25th anniversary of the festival, there will be a special Mystery Fling competition.
The Calling of the Pipes, being held Sunday afternoon at the Hector Heritage Quay beginning at 1 p.m. features piping displays by the Antigonish and Old Scotia Pipe Band, Colchester Legion Pipe Band and the Heatherbells.
Some of the festival events will be taking place at the Hector Heritage Quay, home of the ship Hector replica and interpretive centre.
Daily concerts will be held outside each day as well as workshops on carving, blacksmithing, bodhran and piping. Dr. Alan Marble, genealogist, will be on site each afternoon of the festival to provide information about searching for family roots.
Another highlight of the festival is the encampment of the 84th Regiment of Foot, a group of historical re-enactors portraying the life of an 18th century soldier. They will be camped for the weekend near the Hector Quay and welcome visitors to share their story.
Tickets for the Mainstage concerts at the deCoste Centre are on sale now and will be available at the door. Special reduced admission fees at the Hector Quay will be in effect during the Hector Festival. Call the deCoste Centre at 485-8848 or 1-800-353-5338.