STRONG MAN- Joel Thiessen competed in the Hammer Throw competition during the 69th Annual Red Deer Highland Games last year. The annual festival of Scottish heritage featured competitions in piping and drumming, dancing and heavy events. Express file photo

70th annual Highland Games set for this weekend

Red Deer Highland Games returns to Westerner Park

By Emily Rogers

Express staff

Scottish heritage will come alive as Red Deer’s 70th annual Highland Games will be held at the Westerner Park on June 17th.

“The events are great for the community, great for learning about Red Deer’s large Scottish heritage, and it’s a lot of fun for everyone,” said Jennifer Meyn, chair of the Highland Games, adding the Games are a great time not only for families, but also groups of friends, and singles.

Events begin in the morning, with the opening ceremonies at 12:30 p.m., and events will run until 5 p.m, with the McPherson’s Pub open until 6 p.m.

Included in the day’s events are dance competitions, with a variety of dances such as the Highland Fling, the Sword Dance, the Seann Triubhas, Strathspey and Highland Reel, Scottish Lilt, Flora MacDonald’s Fancy, and the Irish Jig, with beginners, intermediates and advance levels participating.

Piping, and drumming competitions will take place, along with a shortbread competition, where contestants are asked to bake a batch of traditional shortbread.

Athletic events include Putting the Stone, Open Stone, Throwing the Weights for Distance, Throwing the Hammers, Tossing the Caber, Tossing the Sheaf, and Tossing the Weight for Height.

Along with various competitions happening around the Highland Games, there will also be the popular sheep dog demonstrations, mini golf area, and members of the Titans Rugby team will be in attendance to teach others, and promote the Celtic sport.

In addition, there will also be an area for crafts, with Canada 150, and Celtic themed colouring pages, with prizes to be awarded for exceptional artwork.

A magician will be on the grounds as well, to entertain anyone near by, with shows, and balloon animals.

The 78th Fraser Highlanders Senior Squad will be performing a signature musket salute, and will being providing a period accurate village, with vendors selling dance, piping, and drumming merchandise. The market will consist of local products produced in Alberta.

Included in the Highland Games events are the Celtic Jam Jars, a band from Alberta consisting of friends, and family.

The Celtic Jam Jars are known to play traditional Irish and Scottish music, and also modern songs that have Celtic spirit.

“Come out, and join us for a day,” said Meyn.

For more information about the events happening, admission prices or to volunteer, visit the Highland Games web site, or their facebook page.