Kudos for Amanzimtoti Lions

AMANZIMTOTI Lions, organisers of the Highland Gathering, have been buoyed by international recognition which has been bestowed on the annual event.

This year’s tartan-inspired showcase of bag pipe playing and Scottish dancing has been set down for Saturday, 29 April.

Amanzimtoti Lions president, Carol Botha said the club was overjoyed to be given recognition by the Pipe Band of Southern Africa (PBASS). “Because of the competition being highly rated in SA, it warrants international judges so the PBASS has awarded international recognition to our event,” said Carol. “We have the biggest turnout of pipe bands in one day – anywhere in the world.”

Scotland’s week-long tattoo has a similarly high number of pipers but they don’t all play at one venue on the same day, according to Carol. This year’s Gathering looks set to draw another full house of 33 SA pipe bands.

Planning and behind-the-scenes preparations for the Gathering, which is now in its 53rd year, have already begun in earnest. The Lions are also excited about the confirmation of attendance of another international judge, Terry Tulley from Ireland. Last year was the first time the pipe band competition was adjudicated by a judge of international standing.

Toti’s largest public event draws between 10,000 and 12,000 people from across the province and as far afield as Gauteng.

While the tartan elements showcase their skills in dancing and pipe playing bands, there will also be the usual crowd-pullers – a lifestyle expo, beauty pageant, genuine crafts arena and a wide range of food vendors. “As our club is driven by service to the local community, the Highland Gathering is a completely non-profit event, and the proceeds from this event are ploughed straight back into funding local development initiatives,” said Carol.

New stallholders who want to sign up for a spot at this year’s Gathering should emailed Lion John West at john.d.k.west@amanzimtoti-lions.org.

Stallholders who were in attendance at last year’s event will be emailed automatically. General stalls cost R500 and food stalls are R600. There will be a dedicated, genuine crafts section where only bona fide, hand-made crafters will be able to showcase their wares. While the entrance fee has been kept as low as possible, rising costs have necessitated a slight increase. Adults cost R50, R30 for students, R20 for pensioners and children under 10, while children under six enter for free.

Michelle Izatt
Managing Editor

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