Why do bagpipers march when they play? To get as far away from the noise as possible. If you don't dearly love the sound that comes when air is blown into a bag, a chanter, a blowpipe, two tenor drones, and one bass drone, then stay far, far away from the Queen Mary's 18th Annual Scottish Festival and Games. Turns out the big ship was constructed in Scotland, so every year the old gal hosts highland dancers doing the Pas de Basques, Fling, Hornpipe, Sean Triubhas, Sword, Flora — you name a highland dance, it'll be here. The sweaty Highland Athletic Competition features extreme-macho events like the Hammer Throw and Putting the Stone. And yes, there will be haggis, and other Scottish food, plus scotch and ale tastings. Expect several categories of drumming, with competitions going on all weekend. Hell — if you find yourself “roarin' fu” (extremely drunk), you can get a room!

Feb. 18-20, 2011

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