Sir Billy Connolly to lead Tartan Day Parade

Sir Billy Connolly will be the Grand Marshal of the New York City Tartan Day Parade this year.

Taking place on the 21st anniversary of the official Tartan Day this April, the globally-renowned comedian, artist, musician, presenter, actor and artist will lead this year’s procession along Manhattan’s Sixth Avenue on Saturday April 6 – with 1,500 participants including solo pipers, drummers, full pipe bands, highland dancers, Scottish clans and the ever-popular Scottish dogs, in tow.

Glasgow-born Billy said: ‘I’m thrilled to be this year’s Grand Marshal of the New York City Tartan Day Parade. I can’t wait to hear all those bagpipes echoing off the skyscrapers and to see Sixth Avenue awash with thousands of swaying kilts. It’s going to be brilliant.’

He follows in the footsteps of Sir Sean Connery, Sam Heughan, Brian Cox, Kevin McKidd and Alan Cumming.

The NYC Tartan Day Parade, the official National Tartan Day in the United States, has around 30,000 spectators set to watch 1,500 participants march from 45th Street to 55th Street up Sixth Avenue.

The famous parade pups are set to make their annual appearance and the beloved competition will be judged by internationally acclaimed psychologist and wife of Billy Connolly, Dr Pamela Stephenson.

Kyle Dawson, president of the New York Tartan Day Committee, said: ‘We’re beyond delighted to announce that Billy Connolly will join us as Grand Marshal of this year’s New York City Tartan Day Parade this April. For over half a century, he has entertained us all through his work and, because of this, he is beloved on both sides of the pond. We look forward to enjoying a big year with the Big Yin. See you all in April.’

The days before and after the Parade are called Tartan Week and are filled with a full range of Scottish-themed events. This event is part of Carnegie Hall’s Migrations: The Making of America festival.

In 1998 the US Senate declared April 6 to be National Tartan Day to recognise the Scots, and Scottish-American’s contribution to building America.

In 1999, two pipe bands and a small but enthusiastic group of Scottish Americans marched from the British Consulate to the UN – the first New York Parade.

Since then, the parade has grown to include hundreds of pipers, thousands of marchers and many more thousands cheering from the sidelines.