Highland Games celebrate beauty, brawn of Scottish culture

09/01/2021

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27th annual Highland Games & Scottish Festival kicks off Sept. 10

After a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19, Edinboro University’s picturesque campus will be filled with the colorful traditions of Scotland during the 27th annual Highland Games & Scottish Festival, Sept. 10-12.

Featuring world-class musicians, Celtic vendors, the national Scottish fiddle championship (virtual), highland dance performances, athletic competitions, clan gatherings, kids’ crafts and games and traditional Scottish food, the festival serves as a tribute to the University’s founders and ongoing association with the history and traditions of Scotland.

The cultural celebration kicks off Friday, Sept. 10, at 5:30 p.m. with a single-malt whisky tasting at the University’s Commonwealth House, 214 Meadville Street, Edinboro, Pa. Registration is required, and attendees must be 21 or older. The cost is $50 per person, with proceeds benefitting the Student Hardship Fund. 

“Now in its fourth year, the whisky tasting continues to grow,” said Dr. Tim Thompson, professor of Communication, Journalism & Media and director of the Highland Games. “The fun-filled event features delicious food and the finest whisky.”

The main festival events and games will be held throughout Saturday, Sept. 11, on the Edinboro University campus, around McComb Fieldhouse at the corner of Scot and Scotland roads, and at the adjacent Pogue Student Center.

The beer tent, on the McComb Fieldhouse lawns, opens at 11 a.m. 

“If you get there before noon, you’ll want to see the opening ceremony. It’s spectacular, with the massed pipe bands marching and playing and the Scottish clans on parade,” Thompson said. “Between noon and 4 p.m., you can catch all the best the festival has to offer.”

Musical performances will fill the air throughout the day, while burly athletes toss various weighty objects as part of the ever-popular heavy athletic competitions. Those events include the caber toss, hammer, stone and 56-pound weights for height and distance. 

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An array of high-quality vendors will be on hand, selling clothing, jewelry, glassware and other goods. Scottish and American food vendors will offer sausage rolls, meat pies, shepherd’s pie, chicken dinners, kettle corn, cookies, desserts and more. 

The full schedule of Saturday’s events will run from approximately 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., followed by the Ceilidh (kay-lee) dinner and music from 5-9 p.m. in Van Houten Dining Hall and the Boro Pit. The cost of the Ceilidh is $15 per person. 

All festival events are free and open to the public, except the Ceilidh and the single-malt tasting. Masks are required in all campus buildings, regardless of vaccination status.

On Sunday, Sept. 12, events close with a Chelsea House Orchestra concert at 10:45 a.m. at the Edinboro United Methodist Church, 113 High St. in Edinboro

All events will go on, rain or shine, with alternate locations set in case of inclement weather. Full festival information is available on the website at www.edinboro.edu/events/highland-games.

Let the Games begin!