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Highland Games/Scottish Festival back at Edinboro University September 6-9


EDINBORO, Pa. – Edinboro University is getting the games on!

The 19th Annual Edinboro Highland Games & Scottish Festival begins with a Celtic rock band, ends with an orchestra, and is full of fun and traditional games in between! The 2012 edition of the popular festival runs from Thursday, September 6, to Sunday, September 9, with the main event on Saturday, September 8 on Edinboro’s campus. Admission to the festival is free.

This year’s four-day event is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Philip Ginnetti, Edinboro University’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, who died unexpectedly in June.

“Phil jumped into the Scots tradition with both feet, and was a proud wearer of the tartan!” explained Edinboro Professor Timothy Thompson, who created the  local games and has been leading them for two decades. 

The Highland Games feature Scottish and Celtic music, professional and amateur heavy athletic competitions, highland dance competitions, pipe band parades and competitions, fiddle and harp competitions, Scottish and American foods, clan gatherings, over 20 gift and clothing vendors, and various animal exhibits.

Edinboro’s 2012 festival will host the National Scottish Fiddle Championships, with the regional championships held Friday night and the finals on Saturday, both in the Frank G. Pogue Student Center’s Scot Theatre.

Also new this year will be a Celtic Harp competition, held Saturday in the Pogue Center’s Zahorchak Conference Room.

The Games begin Thursday night with the return of the always popular “7N.”

“Seven Nations is not your father’s Celtic band!” Professor Thompson says. “With a passionate, tender, and rollicking style that winningly veers from Celtic and folk to dance and fusion-rock, Seven Nations has earned a growing reputation as an adventurous band with a charismatic stage presence.” Tap Tronic, a progressive fusion of Irish dance and electronic music, will open for Seven Nations in the Louis C. Cole Auditorium-Memorial Hall concert.

The Chelsea House Orchestra – a group of more than 30 talented high school musicians from Michigan – will light up Cole Auditorium in a Friday evening concert, and perform at the festival and traditional ceilidh Saturday. The Friday concert is opened by Kim Robertson, a world-class Celtic harpist, followed by Ed Pearlman, Scottish fiddler.

The main festival and games are held Saturday, September 8, in and around McComb Fieldhouse at the corner of Scot and Scotland Roads. The Games run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., followed by the ceilidh (kay-lee) dinner and music from 6 to 10 p.m. in the Pogue Center’s Multipurpose Room.

Bagpipe music will fill the air all day long Saturday as pipe bands and soloists march together and compete. Highland dancers also compete all day inside McComb Fieldhouse, while the burly heavy athletes toss various weighty objects on the back lawns. Those events include the caber toss (flip a tree), hammer, stone, and 56-pound weights thrown for height and distance.

An array of over 20 vendors will be offering for sale clothing, jewelry, glassware, and other goods. Scottish and American food vendors will also be available with sausage rolls, meat pies, shepherd’s pie, chicken dinners, desserts and more.

Many Scottish clans, along with Gaelic and Celtic groups and the Robert Burns Scottish Club, will have their tents set up near McComb Fieldhouse, and animal exhibits include Clydesdales and Scottish sheep.

All events are free except the ceilidh Saturday night. The ceilidh features a delicious three course buffet dinner and music by the Chelsea House Orchestra, harpists and fiddlers. The ceilidh is the only ticketed event of the festival at $30, and advance ticket purchase is recommended with the form available on the festival’s website.

On Sunday, September 9, the final two performances of the Chelsea House Orchestra will take place at the Edinboro United Methodist Church at 10:45 a.m. and the Riverside Inn in Cambridge Springs at 2 p.m.

Festival information is available online at