Annual Highland Games is back again

  • Jun. 25, 2014 3:08 p.m.

The Highland Games is back in town this weekend and will wow attendees with intense strength competitions, delicious food vendors and incredible entertainment.

Justin Stewart, entertainment coordinator for the event, said that this annual event is truly something to be experienced by everyone at least once.

“It is definitely a family event. Kids love it and it’s absolutely great. You see old people, and young people and kids and everyone,” said Stewart.

The Highland Games will be held at the Red Deer Titans Rugby Park, on Range Road 275A. The event goes rain or shine, all day long. Children under 11 pay no admission fee, with entrance tickets available for $10 for seniors and students, $15 for adults and $35 for families.

The Games feature a variety of events, including talented Highland dancers. Stewart said there are usually hundreds of people competing in this event.

Along with the Highland dancers, there are a number of ‘heavy events’ – these include the open stone toss, throwing of weights and hammers, tossing a caber (a very large, long wooden pole) and a weight toss for height. All of these events are extremely difficult and require massive amounts of strength, he said.

“Basically, they are big, strong men and women, of whom about half are professionals,” said Stewart.

“These aren’t baseballs. These men and women are extremely strong. That’s a really good time, because people come from all over to take part. It’s very popular at our Games.”

As with any Scottish festival, of course there will be bagpipers and drummers. The pipers and drummers will compete in individual, group and band categories throughout the day. At the end of the Games, the musicians will converge into a large band and march together.

“It is big. And loud. All you can see is a big mass of pipers marching toward you,” laughed Stewart.

To add a little bit of sweetness to the day, a traditional shortbread competition will pit bakers against each other, raising funds to ultimately donate to the Red Deer Food Bank. After the competition, the shortbreads are sold off. Also, a delicious pancake breakfast will be offered, he said.

“There’s also a tug-o-war, which is open to anybody. Most of our events, people have to register well in advance, except for the tug of war. If somebody wants to get a group of eight together, they can show up the day of and register,” said Stewart.

With the floods of last year, the Games were quite tame compared to previous years, he said. But this year, the festivities are sure to make up for anything lacking in last year’s celebration.