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Last Updated: Monday, 22 October 2007, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
Pledge to launch clan gathering
Hammer (Pic: VisitScotland/ScottishViewpoint)
Piping, dancing, athletics and heavy events will take place
The "biggest" clan gathering for almost 200 years is to take place in Edinburgh after receiving 300,000 in funding.

The Gathering, which is expected to attract 8,000 clan members and 30,000 spectators, is being planned for Holyrood Park in 2009.

Edinburgh City Council, Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian, and EventScotland are helping to fund some of the 1.5m cost of the event.

The rest of the money will come from ticket sales and private enterprise.

As well as the traditional displays of piping, dancing, athletics and heavy events, the games will have a food and drink fair.

There will also be an exhibition allowing visitors to trace their ancestry, and a live music stage featuring leading contemporary and traditional bands.

The Gathering 2009 will focus the world's attention on Scotland's culture and as hosts we will be ready to make the most of this fantastic opportunity to promote Edinburgh
Steve Cardownie
Edinburgh City Council

The highlight of the clan programme will be a clan parade up the Royal Mile and historic pageant of the clans in the arena on the Castle Esplanade.

The organisers led by Lord Sempill, chief of the Name and Arms of Sempill and vice convenor of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, and Jenny Gilmour, expect to attract 30,000 local visitors to the event planned for 25 - 26 July 2009.

Already more than 60 clans have said they want to take part, including Clan Donald, the world's largest clan.

Many US-based clan organisations have already booked hotel rooms in Edinburgh, whilst VisitScotland and EventScotland have estimated that the overall economic impact of the event will be about 5m spread across Scotland.

Highland dancers (Pic: VisitScotland/ScottishViewpoint)
Already over 60 clans have said they want to take part

Lord Sempill, said: "Not since Sir Walter Scott's Royal Pageant in 1822 have so many clans come together, so The Gathering 2009 will be a meaningful historic, as well as cultural, event.

"Our clan tradition and cultural identity are very closely linked and, at a time when Scots are coming to terms with their identity, The Gathering is a fantastic opportunity to reinforce a very important part of our heritage and to celebrate its existence."

EventScotland chief operating officer, Paul Bush, said: "As well as providing an enormous economic boost to Edinburgh and other parts of Scotland, The Gathering 2009 will create a fantastic spectacle along the Royal Mile and at Edinburgh Castle - images that will be conveyed to millions of people around the world."

Steve Cardownie, Edinburgh City Council festival and events leader, said: "The Gathering 2009 will focus the world?s attention on Scotland?s culture and as hosts we will be ready to make the most of this fantastic opportunity to promote Edinburgh."

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