13 Apr

“Largest Single Gathering of Pipe Bands” in Amanzimtoti’s Highland Gathering and Lifestyle Expo

Amanzimtoti is set to showcase the 53rd annual Highland Gathering, featuring thirty-three pipe bands from all over the country, on Saturday, 29 April 2017.

This year’s Highland Gathering will be hosted at Hutchison Park. The Gathering was originally adopted by the Amanzimtoti Lions Club in 1976 and it is the primary fundraising event of the club. Over the years, the Club has built up the event’s momentum, and this year it is expected to attract around 12 000 people, making it the largest public event to be hosted by the town.

Lions President Carol Botha said, “The Club is overjoyed to be given recognition from the Pipe Band of Southern Africa. Because of the competition being so highly rated in South Africa, it warrants international judges, so the PBASS has awarded international recognition to the event.”

“We have the biggest turnout of pipe bands in one single day – anywhere in the world,” she proudly boasts.  According to Carol, Ireland’s Terry Tulley will be judging the competition on the day.  Last year was the first time the pipe band competition was adjudicated by a judge of international standing. Carol added that Scotland has a week-long tattoo with a high number of pipers, but they don’t all play at one venue on the same day. 

The Highland Gathering is a complete non-profit event and proceeds are ploughed back into funding local development activities. Institutes and organisations which benefit from the Highland Gathering include Ethelbert Home, Jona Vaughan Home and the Amanzimtoti Child Welfare. Individuals have also received life saving items such as regular diabetes testing, optometrist services, wheelchairs, hearing aids, food and clothing.

Whilst the tartan-clad dancers and bands will be displaying their unique skills, visitors will have the opportunity to shop for a variety of foods, arts and crafts at a flea market. There will be a dedicated, genuine crafts section where only bona fide, hand-made crafters will be showcasing their wares.  

Entertainment will include a beauty pageant, modeling, a choice of at least ten local music bands, as well as beer tents. There will also be a horse show in the arena. According to Carol, there are still stalls available for the Gathering. Interested individuals can contact John West onjohn.d.k.west@amanzimtotilions.org.

A new element of a memorial sponsorship has been added to this year’s event, whereby companies or individuals that have a long history with the Gathering can sponsor a cash prize for various band sections. Carol Botha said, “Perhaps you have lost a loved one who had particular ties with Scotland or just loved the Gathering. You’re welcome to make a donation in that person’s name and place a plaque in commemorating that affinity in a special corner on day of the event.”  Contact Lion Debbie Vosloo on 0832863883 regarding this.

Big Events 365 will be hosting the Lifestyle Expo in conjunction with the Highlands Gathering. Visitors can expect to find interactive displays, and special Expo deals and promotions. Exhibition space is still available in the house and garden, outdoor and leisure, as well as health and beauty categories, from as little as R680 per stall. For more information contact Big Events 365 on admin@bigevents365.co.za.

There will also be NGO’s displaying their organisations. These will include Pink Drive, Amanzimtoti Trauma Unit, and the Reach for a Dream Foundation. The Four Walls Pop-Up Restaurant will be preparing scrumptious meals on the day.

The Lifestyle Expo will have a dedicated kids’ zone with fun rides, games and entertainment. Geoffrey the Giraffe from Toys R Us will be handing out balloons, stickers and gift bags between 10 and 11am

Sapphire Coast Tourism’s Monique Botha said, “We are ecstatic that Amanzimtoti will once again play host to the biggest annual event on the South Coast. Being held over a long weekend, we would like to encourage holidaymakers to head down to Hutchison Park and enjoy this great family event.”

“We look forward to hosting the pipe bands, drummers, judges, as well as their families and supporters. We hope they enjoy the warmth of the Sapphire Coast’s weather and its hospitality,” added Monique. 

Entrance fees for the Highlands Gathering and Lifestyle Expo: Adults R50, students R30, R20 for pensioners and children under 10, while children under six enter for free.

Keep updated on the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lifestyleexpoamanzimtoti/

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