Northeast Florida Scottish Games, 2010
Northeast Florida Scottish Games and Festival
“Halò, fàilte gu Alba”, or “Hello, welcome to Scotland!” These 15th annual Games offered athletic competitions, sheep herding demonstrations, dog show, living history encampment, children’s activities, musical performances, food, shopping, and the gathering of the clans. This event had all the activities that most Highland games have, and more! Situated at the Clay County Fairgrounds, many events were under cover, a big plus on a chilly and rainy day.
Athletic competitions are the focus of the Games. These include tossing the caber, the sheaf toss, and the hammer throw. These all involve skill at throwing heavy objects. There are even children’s competitions for these! They are fun to watch, and we’re amazed at the strength of these athletes!
Several breeds of dogs, such as collies, sheepdogs, and terriers, were present. Border collies herded the sheep. The Frisbee dogs played Frisbee. Birds of Prey demonstrated the skill of falcons and other raptors. Highland cattle and a Shetland pony charmed everyone.
A Children’s Area had games, activities, shopping, and a petting zoo for wee’uns. Princess wreaths and swords and shields had little lasses and lads smiling and happy.
Musical groups played “kilt rock” and traditional music to the delight of their audiences. We liked the energy Mother Grove had!
Each clan had an information booth to help people learn more about their clan, or to just know more about the Scots. During the Opening Ceremony, each clan marched in wearing their tartans and paraded around the area, interspersed with pipe and drum bands. Following the clans were the dogs and cattle. The Southeast Navy band played a concert first, including a medley of military hymns, and then stood during the parade. It was a spectacular sight! The national anthems of Canada, the U.S., England, and Scotland were played. This was the most impressive of the Opening Ceremonies we’ve seen.
Food offerings were meat pies, haggis, sausage rolls, dumplings, sticky toffee pudding, cookies, tea, and Irn Bru, a Scottish staple drink. Greek and American foods were also available. Prices average $4 to $6 for food and about $2 for soft drinks.
Finally, shopping presents household items, jewelry, music CDs, DVDs, music instruments, clothing, teapots, and many clan items. There is something for everyone.
You don’t have to be a Scot to enjoy this event! This year’s festival was on Feb. 27, with admission of $12 at the gate, $10 advance.