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St Andrews will celebrate St Andrew’s Day in style

St A's Day 2014 - pic by Sunjana DalalSt Andrews is once again gearing up to celebrate Scotland’s patron saint’s day, with a bumper programme of events being staged on and around St Andrew’s Day.

This will be the third year of the St Andrew’s Day Celebrations, co-ordinated by local charity St Andrews Partnership and supported by Scotland’s Winter Festivals.

Donnie Munro

Donnie Munro

A number of local organisations are helping to deliver this year’s programme, which contains around 25 different events. For many people, the highlight will be the afternoon-long free spectacle in the town centre on Saturday 26th, which will see a big stage filled with the best of Scottish music, including both nationally-known stars and local performers, with street entertainers also entertaining the crowds.

The headline act will be Donnie Munro (ex-Runrig frontman); he and his band are known for their rousing performances. The principal support act will be the award-winning Celtic rockers Skerryvore, freshly returned from a massive tour of North America and Europe. Other acts include Celter Schmelter with their footstomping klezmer music, Edinburgh singer-songwriter Caroline Gilmour, and a range of local artistes.

skerryvore

Skerryvore

One of the day’s highlights will be the traditional switch-on of the St Andrews Festive Lights,  sponsored by BID St Andrews. This year’s switch-on will have a distinctly European flavour – but organisers are keeping the exact nature of this a secret for the time being!

Revellers will then enjoy the return of the now-famous family open-air ceilidh – billed as the world’s largest St Andrew’s Day Ceilidh – with up to 1,500 dancers expected to take part in the early evening.

Other highlights of the Celebrations include the St Andrews v Rest of the World Golf Match on the New and Jubilee Courses – which is already approaching sell-out status – and ‘Open Doors’ events on St Andrew’s Day itself, when local landmarks are opened up for free tours.

David Mach

David Mach

The Celebrations will culminate in a major new occasion on the evening of 30th November: The St Andrew’s Day Conversation brings together several leading Scots, each pre-eminent in their field, to discuss what ‘Scottishness’ means to them and how their own backgrounds have shaped their identities. Participants include prizewinning author Janice Galloway, the renowned artist David Mach, and former First Minister of Scotland Henry McLeish. Tickets for this event, which is being staged at the recently-refurbished Buchanan Theatre, are now on sale.

Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult

The Celebrations will begin in time-honoured style on 25 November with the annual Beating the Retreat pipe band parade in South Street. An array of other events will include author talks from Jodi Picoult and John Simpson, several exhibitions, food events, a special Park Run, a table tennis competition, walking tours, and much more.

St Andrews Partnership’s Chairman Jim McArthur said, “We are delighted to be launching this year’s programme of events, and once again we’re especially pleased to be including around a dozen events being staged by community organisations – this will add a real sense of local authenticity and participation. St Andrew’s Day will once again be an opportunity for us to celebrate Scotland’s culture, here in the town named after our patron saint.”

Exact timings and ticket details for all the events are now available on our “What’s On” pages and a printed programme will be distributed widely during November.