Mabou has a rich musical heritage and the annual Mabou Ceilidh Festival, running from Wednesday, July 20, to Sunday, July 24, is full of musical treats.
The festival, now in its 44th year and themed “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”, also includes various non-musical activities including an outdoor family movie, a boat parade, a road race, a street parade, an ecumenical service, tons of children’s games, an old fashioned tea, an outdoor gala, the display and sale of crafts, a beer garden, a roast beef dinner, a farmer’s market, and a Pioneer Mass.
Even the musical events are varied: a teen dance, a square dance, a milling frolic, open mic/jam session and special concert at Strathspey Place on Sunday evening to cap the week’s activities.
The festival’s first day of activities, Wednesday, July 20, starts at 6:30pm at the Old Ball Field with a Ride-On Lawn Mower Race; at dusk, there is an Outdoor Family Movie at the Mabou Athletic Center, and from 10 pm to 1 am, Margie and Dawn Beaton and Kenneth MacKenzie will get everyone up on the dance floor at the Mabou Hall for a Square Dance.
Thursday, July 21, has two scheduled activities: a Ball Hockey Tournament, 3 pm to 7 pm at the Mabou Athletic Center, followed by a Teen Dance, 9:30 pm to 12 midnight at the same venue.
The annual Boat Parade in Mabou Harbour gets going on Friday, July 22, at 6 pm, followed by an Ecumenical Service, 7 pm, at the Mabou Marina. The Eddie Cummings Band celebrates the release of their new CD during the Pub Night at the Mabou Marina Waterfront from 9 pm to 12 midnight.
Get up early on Saturday, July 23, for the 8 am registration at Dalbrae Academy for the Hugh Arnold Campbell Memorial Road Race (10k, 5k, and Fun Run). The race itself starts at 9 am, also at Dalbrae Academy. The Ceilidh Festival Parade starts at 12 noon, rain or shine. After the parade, at 1 pm, back at Dalbrae Academy Grounds, there is a whole day of event including “the Games”, an Outdoor Gala Concert, Craft Market, Milling Frolic, Beer Gardens, and Bingo, and for the hungry multitudes a BBQ, Canteen, and traditional Cape Breton Tea. Matt Minglewood rocks the Mabou Athletic Centre from 10 pm to 2 am, for everyone over 19 years.
The final day of the festival, Sunday, July 24, begins at 11 am, with the Pioneer Mass at St. Mary’s Parish Cemetery. Also at 11 am and running to 2 pm, there is a Farmer’s Market at the Mabou Arena. And at the Mabou Hall from 12 noon to 2 pm, a roast beef dinner will be served. The Lucky Duck Race at David MacMillan’s Farm in Glendyre to the Bridge starts at 1:30 pm. At 3 pm, at the Mabou Marina, is the hilarious Anything You Can Float Race.
The festival concludes with the best of Mabou talent performing on the stage of Strathspey Place at 8 pm.