TODAY marks the start of Whisky Month, a Homecoming Scotland-backed countywide venture celebrating Scotland's national drink. Starting things off is this annual festival in Strathspey, which has the highest concentration of distilleries of any whisky producing-region in Scotland. The programme is huge - packing 350-odd tours, trips, tastings, workshops and live performances into just five days. New this year is The Spirit of Speyside Sessions, a series of intimate shows from the likes of RM Hubbert, Withered Hand and 'whisky comedian' Alan Anderson.
Glasgow Race For Life
Glasgow Green, Sunday
CANCER Research UK's summer series of women-only fundraising events kicks off with one of their biggest. Starting at 9.30am from Glasgow Green, entrants can run or walk the 5K course, which takes in the Merchant City, George Square, and The Style Mile. Registration is £14.99 for adults and £10 for children. For a less urban option, Hopetoun House near Edinburgh also stages 10K and 5K events later on Sunday. Look out for further Race For Life fundraisers in Irvine, Falkirk and Stirling later in the month.
Dumfries and Galloway Science Festival
Various venues, until Saturday
IN schools in the south-west all week, this fun and educational mini festival concludes on Saturday with a free day out for curious kids and their families from 10am at Crichton Campus in Dumfries. Along with workshops, stalls, demonstrations, and interactive displays, the legacy of Scottish scientific pioneer James Clerk Maxwell is celebrated with a light show and poetry workshop, while there's also a spoof Zombie Science tutorial, a robot-building lab, and experts on hand from the RSBP, NHS, and Our Dynamic Earth.
Old Town Street Food Festival
Three Sisters, Edinburgh, Sunday
DECLARED to be the first ever multi-vendor street food festival in Edinburgh's Old Town, this Sunday afternoon event is the latest in a series planned for this year's spring bank holidays. Promising gourmet street food, craft beer, four live music stages, and a brightly painted double-decker bus kitted out with a vintage fair, cocktail bar and acoustic music space, admission is free. Among 25 up-and-coming Scottish bands appearing are The Merrylees and Hector Bizerk. The event returns on Sunday May 25.
Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens
Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow, Saturday and Sunday
THIS two day sporting showcase promising top quality rugby, music and circus-themed entertainment is part of the HSBC Sevens World Series tournament, bringing together the superpowers of the international game over nine fixtures across the globe. Scotland currently sit a plucky 12th out of 15 teams. Never mind - go for the atmosphere, as well as to take a closer look at the freshly refurbished Scotstoun Stadium, spruced up especially for the Commonwealth Games. Tickets available from £20.
Highland Perthshire Cycling Festival
Various venues in Perthshire, from Saturday
A GREAT opportunity to get back in the saddle after the winter months with this week of cycling events in Highland Perthshire. Saturday's main draw is the Dunkeld Enduro mountain bike race, while Sunday has women-only rideout Belles and Buns, and an elite youth downhill event in Aberfeldy. The festival continues into next week with workshops in cycle skills and first aid, a film night, and Bards and Bikes, an event which mixes cycling and poetry.
Out of The Blue Arts Market
Out of The Blue Drill Hall, Edinburgh, Saturday
EDINBURGH arts hub Out of The Blue are celebrating their 20th year over the next few weeks with a series of open days, an arts market, an exhibition, and a live music and food showcase. If you've never been along to their Drill Hall base in Leith, Saturday's Arts Market could be the perfect excuse, with the chance to buy textiles, paintings, photography, jewellery and more from 45 different artists and makers. Entry is a wallet-friendly 80p.
May Bank Holiday Music Festivals
Various venues, Saturday and Sunday
With Saturday's Brew At The Bog in Inverness sold out, indie rock fans looking to make the most of the long weekend might look towards Glasgow's Stag and Dagger (www.staganddagger.co.uk). A one ticket, many venues deal featuring a rash of established and emerging talent, Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr is the day's headliner. Elsewhere are Electric Frog and Pressure's Riverside Festival (www.theelectricfrog.co.uk), a two-day electronic music event at Glasgow's Riverside Museum, and Aberdeen's Big Beach Ball (www.thebigbeachball.co.uk) on Sunday, which brings together a bill of high-profile DJs and live bands including Mylo, Malcolm Middleton, and Admiral Fallow.
International Dawn Chorus Day
Various venues, Sunday
THIS intriguing initiative is billed as a worldwide celebration of nature's daily miracle. Set up with the aim of encouraging people to rise early and enjoy the sound of the world waking up, there are a number of early morning walks and events at parks and reserves across Scotland, where you can find out about bird song, identify different species, and grab some breakfast. If you can't get along to one of those, you could always just set an alarm, get up and head out somewhere green.
Various venues in Edinburgh, until May 11
BACK for a second year, TradFest is a multi-arts festival rooted in traditional Scottish culture, Gaelic, and folk arts. Having started on Tuesday, the programme runs until a week on Sunday at twenty six venues in Edinburgh, including the Scottish Storytelling Centre. As well as concerts from a raft of Scottish and international folk artists, there are a host of talks, storytelling sessions, theatre performances and exhibitions - including many free events, with a significant number designed with younger audiences and families in mind.
The Games We Play
Scotland Street School Museum, Glasgow, from Saturday
Rediscover childhood favourites and find out about games played in cultures around the world in this new exhibition examining the history and importance of games and how they shape us from an early age. Running daily until September 7 (closed Mondays), entry is free. www.glasgowmuseums.com