Highland Homecoming will be celebrated Sunday, Sept. 15, at the Hector Heritage Quay in a big way.
Various events will be held at the Quay including free admission, a blacksmith demonstration by Nathan Zastrow from the working forge that is on site, tours of the replica Ship Hector, sales in the gift shop, folk art display using reclaimed materials by Frank Parsonage of Frank’s Crazy Critters, carving demonstrations and live entertainment. The event will have something for everyone and is a real family-friendly event with a scavenger hunt complete with prizes – all beginning at 10 a.m. and running through to 4 p.m.
Highland Homecoming was spurred from the former Hector Festival, which had been hosted for 25 years by the deCoste centre.
Darlene MacDonald, a director of the Ship Hector Society, explains the Hector Festival came about after a tourist from Scotland wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper expressing disappointment over the lack of Scottish heritage celebration in the town where Scottish immigrants arrives in 1773.
“So the deCoste took up the charge,” MacDonald said. “Wayne MacGillivary and John Meir created the Hector Festival and over its 25 years welcomed thousands of participants and spectators.”
Three doors down from the deCoste, the Hector Quay stands proudly on the waterfront and 10 years ago, after purchasing the site and ship from the town, volunteers began the Highland Homecoming celebration.
This volunteer-led operation has been promoting the Ship Hector and all things Scottish since then and receives many favourable comments on all that it has to offer on Trip Advisor. (https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g154977-d2304736-Reviews-Hector_Heritage_Quay-Pictou_Nova_Scotia.html#REVIEWS)
This year, various venues around the town will be holding their own celebrations that weekend to celebrate the arrival of the Scottish settlers who first came ashore on the Ship Hector on Sept. 15, 1773.
Water Street Market will be hosting the first Downtown Pictou Fall Fest on Sept. 14. This event will feature hay rides, a barbecue, corn roast, animals, a market, scarecrow contest and more. On the same day, the Pictou County Artists Association will host Paint Pictou, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. downtown. Pictou United Church is also planning a celebration on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. A reunion barbecue for Hector descendants is being planned for McCulloch Centre and lemonade and oatcakes will be available at the Quay. Capt. Johnny Aaaargh will make a special appearance delighting participants.
“Last year’s Highland Homecoming was really well attended and we were very pleased with the turnout,” MacDonald noted. “It is so important to remember this significant date in Canadian history and in 2023 we will be celebrating the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the Hector settlers.”