For the sixth year in a row, the Scottish Society of Ottawa is throwing the best New Year's party in town -- and the largest Hogmanay celebration outside of Scotland. Thousands are expected at the Aberdeen Pavilion between 5 p.m. and midnight to enjoy the food, dancing, whisky tasting, and live entertainment. And to warm the Scottish heart on one of the coldest New Year's Eves in memory -- admission is free.
For Ottawa families, one of the favourite aspects of the annual Hogman-eh! is the way in which the countdown to 2018 happens twice: the first time at 7 p.m. in Ottawa, which is midnight in Scotland. That means the kids can enjoy the balloon sculpture, face-painting, food and dancing -- the countdown and the shower of balloons and the singing of Auld Lang Syne -- then go home to bed while the revelry continues.
From 7 until 12, the entertainment revs into high gear, culminating in another singing of Auld Lang Syne at midnight in Ottawa, followed by fireworks. This year, the musical lineup includes "georgeous harmonies of Searson, a musical dust-up from The Urban Highlanders, the finest in traditional music of Écosse, and the lively, engaging stage show of The American Rogues."
The SSO reports: "Our Marketplace will feature a variety of food vendors from artisan food shops, unique SPUDS and Cornish pasties to old-fashioned, top secret recipe Scottish shortbread and traditional festival fresh fast food - Seed to Sausage, Maggie's Shortbread, The Hot Potato Company, Fadi's Fabulous Food. Find out more about your Scottish roots in our Hall of Origins and local Scottish culture at the SSO booth, British Isles Family History of Greater Ottawa, Clan Donald, Ardbrae Scottish Dancers of Ottawa, and Sherry's School of Highland Dance."
Admission is free to everyone, but back by popular demand the SSO also offers tickets to the VIP Experience. For those who want to enjoy the show in Milestones Lounge, mingle with musicians, and enjoy catered nibbles, drink tickets and swag bags, VIP tickets can be purchased for $75.
Another great pleasure of bringing in the New Year at Hogman-eh! -- the ice outside on the Lansdowne Park Skating Court is groomed and ready for skating. Bring your kilts, bring your skates, bring your appetite for good food and drink, and your taste for fun.