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Culture, food & fun at Tucson Celtic Festival & Scottish Highland Games

Posted at 7:44 AM, Nov 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-03 00:01:31-04

From one stomach to another, this is some Scottish haggis you won’t want to miss.

The Rillito Race Track is hosting the 32nd annual Tucson Celtic Festival and Scottish Highland Games from Friday, November 2 – Sunday, November 4.

If you’ve been itching to wear a kilt, this is your moment to shine. The festival is going to cover the park with more than ten food and beverage vendors taking their own unique stab at traditional and authentic Celtic fare.

If you’ve never tried haggis, or unaware of what it is, this is your chance to grab a bite and also taste Scottish Shepherd’s Pie, mushroom pies, fish and chips, and Welsh cakes.  There’s going to be plenty of it, too, with an estimated 5,000 people to attend this year.

This time around, the festival will have more music, athletics, food, and fun, as you celebrate the heritage and culture of the Celtic Nations — just as it’s been done for centuries.

The weekend’s festivities start off with a Pirate Pub Party on Friday, and then things get heated on Saturday and Sunday with family-fun activities and the Southwest Master’s Championship and Women’s North American Lightweight Championship.

Pirate Pub Party

6 – 10 p.m. on Friday, November 2
  • Tickets are $5, can be purchased at the gates, and kids under 5 are free
  • Come dressed in your best pirate garb
  • “Best Legs in a Kilt” Contest
  • Games, scavenger hunt, fortune teller, and Scottish Clan torchlight ceremony
  • Celtic food, beer, and vendors TBA
  • Live music from Cockswain
  • Proceeds benefit Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery

Festival Days

9 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Saturday, November 3
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 4

Both days include musical performances on two stages, Celtic merchants and food vendors, Scottish clans, heritage and cultural booths, educational workshops, athletic competitions, single malt Whisky Tasting Seminars, and more. The Tucson Celtic Festival Association will also be supporting the local charity Aviva Children’s Services.

Ticket Prices:

  • Adults – $16
  • Seniors or Military – $10
  • Two-Day Pass – $22
  • Kids (5 – 15 years old) – $6
  • Wee Ones (Under 5 years old) – FREE
  • Daily Parking – $3

The Highland Games, including the Southwest Master’s Championship and Women’s North American Lightweight Championship, take place throughout the entire weekend. More than 100 amateur athletes will compete in caber toss, weight for height, weight for distance, the Braemar Stone, and sheaf toss.

A Mass Pipe Band will lead the opening ceremony at noon on Saturday. Other performers include Celtica Pipes RockCockswainJohn GoodArisOut of KiltersCeltic MoonshineLykiska, fire dance group Le Fil D’arians, and students from Maguire Academy of Irish Dance and Celtic Steps.

Children’s activities include games, jumping castles, face painting, and a climbing wall. There’s also going to be a Junior Highland Games, and tickets for this can be purchased separately at the festival.

The Rillito Race Track is located at 4502 N. First Ave. For more information on the events, hours, and prices, visit Head over to if you’d like to purchase your tickets.