‘A long-standing celebration of community, culture and winter magic’

Organisers of Oban Winter Festival have announced the first events and activities set to take place as part of their ten-day programme from 17-26 November 2023.

Now in its 13th year, the festival has become a long-established and beloved tradition uniting both the local community and welcoming visitors keen to experience winter blues-beating festivities and Scottish hospitality at its finest.

The festival, which is delivered by a local group of volunteers works closely with local businesses, charities and schools to put together a programme of events showcasing the unique spirit of the popular coastal town to visitors and locals alike.

Offering events and activities for all ages, early programme highlights include:

  • Opening Parade Friday 17th – Highlighting the recycling theme and created by Vision Mechanics, designers of Storm, who recently toured the country, the opening parade this year will be led by Storm’s little sister, Breeze, The Light Bringer, a three-metre tall puppet who will light the way as children showcasing upcycled costumes follow.

  • Winter Woods – 17/18/19 – 24/25/26 A special night-time event designed to embrace the magic of Glencruitten Woods with spectacular illuminations. Following three years of growing the concept, Winter Woods will extend to 6 nights with a new extended trail on offer for 2023. The woodland estate boasts impressive conifers and the magical Cathedral of Trees, a memorial to those who perished in the First World War, a living memorial to the enduring spirit of hope and regrowth. Celebrating the 2023 festival themed of ‘upcycling and recycling’ it is the chance to see recycled exhibits produced by the community. Audiences can complete the evening by taking part in nature-inspired crafts and enjoy the local foods on offer along with something warming or bubbly.

  • Local food & Craft Markets 18th & 25th – Oban becomes a thriving hub for a spot of retail therapy with craft fairs and markets galore in unique venues across the town centre. In previous years, the wares and produce of local artisans and food producers line the many stalls, with markets taking place in the likes of the local distillery, a Victorian school building and a historic hotel. It’s the perfect opportunity to pick up a stocking filler or two and chat to the region’s crafters and makers.

  • Haggis & Whisky Festival Sunday 26th – Hosted by Oban Distillery, the Haggis Festival sees butchers from across Scotland travel to compete for the coveted Golden Haggis Award, a panel of judges will taste each entry and decide on the winning Haggis for 2023. Running alongside is the People’s Choice Award, where the public can also taste and decide on their favourite, making it an exciting time for the butchers. The Whisky Festival offers attendees the chance to have a taste of their favourite drams to compliment the haggis offerings.

  • Reindeer Parade – Saturday 25th Is that the sound of sleigh bells you hear?! A much-loved fixture of this festival is the annual reindeer parade, where Santa and an adorable crew of four-legged helpers make their way through the streets of Oban on a traditional sled, concluding the parade in the heart of the town at Station Square. This family favourite draws large crowds without fail; as well as chance to see Old Saint Nick, kids (and their adults!) can enjoy fairground rides.

Speaking ahead of this year’s event, the team at Oban Winter Festival said:

“Oban Winter Festival is a testament to the strong sense of community and warmth that defines the region. Whether you want to sample the local larder, enjoy the illuminations brightening up the winter skies, or join us for our opening parade, the importance of human interaction, connection and shared experiences has never been stronger. We look forward to welcoming audiences once again and offering them a taste of Oban’s hospitality.”

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events, VisitScotland said:

“We are proud to continue our support for Oban Winter Festival through our National Events Programme. Year on year, this festival offers a varied programme of events designed and developed by the community, for both locals and visitors to enjoy and experience. Over the years, the festival has continued to evolve whilst still preserving the spirit of tradition and togetherness.”

Kieron Green Councillor Oban North and Lorn

“At a time of year when the long evenings can be isolating, these exciting events organised by the Winter Festival are a welcome opportunity to bring people together. There is also a wider economic impact, with local businesses benefiting from the vibrant atmosphere created in Oban.”

Details on further events and activities planned for this festival will be announced in due course.

Published On: September 15th, 2023

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