When the Glengarry Highland Games come to mind, it brings images of colour and pageantry with 1500 pipers and drummers, of grace and skill with the highland dancers, and of thrilling feats of strength with the heavyweights. Overlaid on all of that are the rousing tunes of Glengarry’s great celtic bands.
The Games are all that and more. On August 3 and 4, the grounds of the Kenyon Agricultural Society in Maxville will be bursting with wall-to-wall activities that feature something for every age and interest.
This year’s Scottish fiddling guests are two local youth groups, The MacLeod Fiddlers & The Students of David MacPhee. Both groups are well known in the area and both have just released new cds this year. Scottish Fiddle starts at 2pm Friday with the “Youth Fiddlers’ Showcase” in the air-conditioned Arena Hall and wraps up with the Glengarry Massed Fiddlers at 5:30 pm as they warm-up for their performance at 6:30 pm to start the Friday Night Tattoo. The MacLeod Fiddlers will also be showcased in the Tattoo as they celebrate their 25th year.
Scottish fiddling continues on Saturday morning in the Arena Hall with a mix of fiddle workshops & mini concerts from 9:30 am till 11:30 am with the two special guest youth groups. The ever popular Glengarry Massed Fiddlers will open and close the Saturday afternoon concert which starts at 1:30 pm also featuring The MacLeod Fiddlers & The Students Of David MacPhee. Come and enjoy the traditional music of Glengarry and beyond, but get there early as it is a full house both days.
Since its inaugural event in 2007 between the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa and the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders that played out to a packed audience, the Highland Regiments Tug of War has become an annual crowd pleaser. This year’s competition on Saturday will see 10 regiments from across Canada invade Maxville for the always heated competition. Teams from the Black Watch, the Essex and Kent Scottish, the Lake Superior Scottish and the SDG Highlanders will try to upset the eight time winner, Ottawa’s Cameron Highlanders.
On Friday evening before the Tattoo, three Glengarry tug of war teams again will challenge each other to see who is the best in the county. Perennial champs from South Glengarry will try to hold off the strong competition from North Glengarry and the combined Sons of Glengarry.
All are welcome to join Friday morning’s harp workshop at 11 am with guest harpist Mary Muckle, a well known harpist, performer, teacher, composer and director of harps from Ottawa. Mary's workshop will offer insights into the history of the harp in Scotland and will explore solo and ensemble pieces for all levels of players. Members of the Ottawa Youth Harp Ensemble will join their director in the workshop. Registration for the workshop can be found on the Games website.
The Games offers a family atmosphere with lots of things to keep the younger crew busy. The Junior Heavyweights event on Saturday starts with registration at 8:30 am where youngsters from ages 3-12 try their hand in scaled-down versions of the heavyweight events. Scottish attire is encouraged and fun is guaranteed. Parental supervision is requested. On Saturday afternoon, all ages can take to the track to race in front of the cheering fans in the grandstands. Pre-registration for both events is online.
The Wee Bairns area is open both days and provides lots of fun for the younger set with traditional Scottish music and interactive events. Parents are encouraged to accompany their children or take a break in a nearby tent that overlooks the area. All the events are under tents in a treed area with adjoining facilities. Drop by for a few minutes or spend some quality time that will give your Wee Bairns some treasured memories of the 2018 Glengarry Highland Games.
An event re-introduced at last year’s Games has increased in size this year and has been moved off-site. The 2nd annual Nate MacRae Memorial Invitational Rugby tournament using a box sevens format will be held Saturday morning. The preliminaries in the round robin will take place at 8:30 am just west of the Games grounds at 12 Robert Street. The championship games will be held later that day on the infield in front of the grandstand. The divisions are U18 girls, women’s and men’s.
Saturday also offers an opportunity to run 5k in a Kilt. Listening to competitors’ feedback, the run will take place at 9:30 am starting and finishing in the big Tent. Registration information is on the Games website. This run is open to all ages from 13 up and runners must wear a kilt. No dogs or strollers please.
What would a Scottish event be without a Whisky Tasting. There are two opportunities at the Games on Saturday afternoon to find out how to nose and taste the whiskies from the GlenGrant distillery. Brian McQueenie from OuiDram Whisky tastings will lead the workshop and provide all sorts of interesting information for both the connoisseur and first-time sampler alike. Slàinte!