In a few short days, thousands will descend on the village of Maxville for the 72nd edition of the Glengarry Highland Games. All across Glengarry, spare rooms are being prepared for those making the annual trek home for the Games. Further away, hundreds of competitors are packing their equipment and finalizing their travels in hopes of winning that gold medal. Scottish or not, the Games are definitely the place to be on August 2 and 3.
This year fifty pipe bands will be competing at the Games with 3 Grade One and 6 Grade Two Bands including the Dunedin Pipe Band from Florida. A record 245 (and still counting) highland dancers will take to the stage over the two days in events for all ages and skill levels. Make sure to visit the thirty-four clans with their information displays and find out more about your celtic heritage.
The Tartan Ball on Thursday is another sell-out with a night of fine dining and Scottish entertainment planned. Added to the exciting MacCulloch Dancers and the Glengarry Pipe Band, guests will be treated to guest harpist Sharlene Wallace providing relaxing dinner music. The 2 Paddys and Friends will make sure the dance floor is full to get the Games off to a rolling start.
The heavyweights are always a big draw and one of the competitors who has been a long-time favourite at the Games is Rev. Dr. Kevin Fast. Now appearing at the Masters’ level, Rev. Fast has set many records outside the Games. The reverend is known as one of the strongest men in the world and has set more than 20 powerlifting records, many of them still unbroken. His Guinness World Records include pulling a transport plane, a house, a 109 ton vehicle, lifting a group of 22 people on his back and tossing 15 cabers in 3 minutes. The reverend may be closing in on 60 years old but his strongman feats continue and keep getting bigger. He has many Ripley’s Believe It or Not records and has shoes enshrined at both the Ripley Museum in St. Augustine, Florida and the Guinness World Records Museum in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Believe it or not, come out Friday and see for yourself.
Both Friday and Saturday, Tug of War competitions take to the infield. Friday before the Tattoo, four local teams will vie to take home bragging rights about who’s the strongest in the County. The usual North and South Glengarry rivalry will be challenged by two additional teams. What is becoming a main attraction is Saturday’s Highland Regiment Challenge Cup event. Ten military regiments from across Canada will be arriving to see which one can unseat the perennial winners, the Cameron Highlanders from Ottawa.
This is a special year for Scottish fiddle with the 40th Anniversary of the Glengarry Massed Fiddlers. Catch them at the Friday Tattoo and the Fiddle Ceilidh Saturday afternoon in the Arena. The focus on Glengarry Fiddlers will continue at the Saturday workshops with two renowned Glengarry fiddlers, Donaldson MacLeod talking on the history of fiddling in Glengarry and The Glengarry Massed Fiddlers, and David MacPhee sharing some of the traditional fiddle tunes that have been played by Glengarry fiddlers throughout many generations.
Each year, the Games add features to make your time with us more comfortable. This year there will be two drinking water stations for your convenience. One will be near the Metcalfe Centre and the other one will be behind the grandstands near the north end. If the weather continues with this hot streak, the stations will be well-used.
Handicapped seating has been enlarged this year to allow for comfortable and easy access to viewing the infield events. The area is located on the covered patio at the rear of the Admin Building (the big white building with the red stripe). For those wishing to purchase any of the few remaining grandstand seats, they should go to the booth beside the Patrons area outside the Metcalfe Centre.
There will be so much packed into the two days of this year’s Games that it will be difficult to take it all in but don’t miss the the Harp Workshop on Friday, the Piobaireachd Competition, the 78th Fraser Highlanders, the popular Friday afternoon entertainment in the air-conditioned Metcalfe Centre and the Next Generation Leahy at the Friday Night Tattoo. Saturday is a huge day with the tribute to our Guests of Honour Glengarry’s own Brigadoons at noon hour’s Official Ceremonies, the kilt run, the whisky tasting and the Clan Parade. The best celtic bands to be found anywhere take over the Big Tent and the Metcalfe Centre Friday night and Saturday starting at 1 pm. Both days have all kinds of things for kids to do with events and entertainment geared just to them.
No matter why you come to the Games, all things stop at 6 pm on Saturday for the awe-inspiring Massed Pipe Bands. When 1500 pipers and drummers join in for Amazing Grace, the thousands ringing the infield hold their breath until the last notes fade away and then they erupt in a loud ovation for the gift of such a magical experience.
If you can’t make it to the Games, Corus Cornwall 104.5 will be broadcasting live on Friday. Rob Snow of CFRA will be back again this year to broadcast his popular show from 10 -12. CTV2 Morning Live will be at the Games Friday morning interviewing from 7:30-10:30 am to give you a taste of what’s on at the Games.
We want you to have fun and enjoy the Games so remember to make sure you and your group have a designated driver. It is a given that the OPP will be policing the roads to see that everyone gets home safely. Starr Taxi will also have cars available outside the Arena.
The Games are ready to roll. Everyone waits a whole year as soon as one Games is over anticipating doing it all over again the next year. The organizing committee has put together a wonderful blend of the traditional, the old and the new to make it the best possible celtic experience for all who attend. Come and find out why over a million people think this is the best weekend all summer.
See you at the Games. A hundred thousand welcomes. Ceud Mìle Fàilte