2010 Central FL Highland Games

Central Florida Highland Games

 

     Welcome to the Highland Games!  For two days in January, a bit of Scotland lives in Central Winds Park in Winter Springs, Florida.  Food, music, dancing, living history, games, and shopping await!  Plan on spending a fun filled day. 

      Scottish foods such as meat pies, scotch eggs, haggis, and fish and chips are available.  If that doesn't appeal, alternative foods are barbeque, hot dogs, gyros, kettle corn, and various others.  There is beer from Dunedin brewery, a local one.  Scotch tasting, too!  Plenty of soft drinks, water, and the Scottish Irn Bru are on tap, so to speak.   Desserts?  How does sticky toffee pudding, shortbread, or Clootie Dumpling with Cream sound? 

     When your appetite is satisfied, shopping offers wares from T shirts to tea pots, belt buckles to bagpipes, and walking sticks to wall art.  There is a huge selection of vendors.  There are two main areas, surrounding the gaming fields, so explore it all! 

     The games, of course, are the main reason for the gathering.  Athletic competitions include tug of war, caber toss, hammer throw, stone put, and weight throw.  A great deal of skill and strength are required.  The competitions began as a way for the Scots to train for battle without the British catching on.  The British government forbade military training, so the games substituted.  Highland dancing and the pipe and drum contests are must sees!   Young girls compete in traditional Scottish dancing, much like an energetic ballet.  Bagpipe and drum bands vie for awards, giving the audience stirring versions of Scotland the Brave, Amazing Grace, and O Flower of Scotland.  Collies give lively sheep herding demonstrations.

     Living history encampments demonstrate life in the military during the 1600s, WWII, and teach ax throwing techniques.   A group teaches willing participants Scottish Country Dancing. The clans have tents to provide information to anyone wanting to know about their family history, or about the clan system of Scotland.  We belong to Clan Young.  Each clan has a motto, tartan, and coat of arms.  Some clans have more than one tartan because there is both an ancient one and modern one.  There may also be a formal tartan.  It's fun to learn!

      Bands perform throughout the day for added entertainment.  The music varies from traditional to contemporary, so there are songs for every taste. Some people got up to dance!

     A special kid's area allowed the wee ones to play at traditional games like the caber toss.  We enjoyed watching them have a rollicking good time!

     One of the highlights of the day is the Welcoming Ceremony at noon.  The pipe and drum bands march in playing, followed by the clans.  The national anthems of Canada, Scotland, England, and the U.S. are sung. Officials make opening remarks.   Those clan members who have passed on are remembered.  The bands march out again, playing.  It's quite stirring!

     On Saturday night there is Ceilidh, or party, from 6 to 9. Tickets are $5 for adults and $1 for the kids.  It's held on the main stage.

     The event runs from 8 to 5 on Saturday and Sunday.  Tickets are $15 for adults at the gate, $12 if you buy early.  Children's (6-11) tickets are $5.  Cash only!  ATMs are on the grounds.  Most shop vendors accept credit cards, but not at the food booths.   http://www.flascot.com/