Festival, Fair and Fun All Rolled Into One

All over Glengarry the spare rooms are being aired, the welcome mats are out and everyone is getting ready to welcome friends and family home for another edition of the Glengarry Highland Games on August 3 and 4 in Maxville, Ontario. Christmas might be missed, Thanksgiving can be given a pass but thousands each year make sure they are home for the Games this weekend. Competitors from across Canada and the United States are already on their way with Maxville their destination and a winning medal their goal.

Early Friday morning, the Games competitions begin, the crowds start gathering and the most exciting festival of the summer starts to roll. Friday offers a wide range of things to do. Along with heavyweight, dancing and piping competitions, people attending will enjoy the performances of the 78th Fraser Highlanders with their 18th century musket re-enactment. Hold your ears and get ready to be thrilled. For old car enthusiasts, a British Car Display takes over the east mound of the infield. Enjoy viewing the polished pride of the owners of MGBs, Triumphs and other British vintage autos.

There are still a few choice grandstand seats for the Friday Night Tattoo and Concert available at the grandstand booth at the rear of Section B. What a show that will be with the RCMP Pipes Drums and Dancers along with Hamilton’s rousing Steel City Rovers. Glengarry’s own MacLeod Fiddlers will also be showcased in celebration of their 25 years as a school of fiddling. Weather permitting, precision skydivers will arrive with the flags of Scotland, Canada and the United States timed to land in the infield at the conclusion of each anthem.

Remember that gate admission of $25 gives access all day to everything except the grandstand seats which are a real bargain at $6 on Friday (and $12 on Saturday). Otherwise, bring your lawn chair and have a front row seat for a world class show.

Saturday just keeps the entertainment going. The professional heavyweights, the world champion dancers and the North American Pipe Band Championships™ will be underway. The Highland Regiments Tug of War with 10 teams from across Canada will compete in the infield with the finals right before the massed bands. Be sure to be there at noon hour when this year’s Guest of Honour Captain Bob Pearson of Canada’s famed Gimli Glider officially opens the Games.

The Metcalfe Centre and the Tent will be packed with dancers and fans all afternoon and evening. There is no need to travel anywhere when the best in celtic music is right here at the Games. The Kilt Run this year starts and ends in the Tent in the morning and gets the party really rolling. Over thirty clans will be ready in the Clan Building to search out names or histories as well as entertain with Scottish music and interesting displays. Clan members are welcome to join the Clan parade around the infield at noon hour and celebrate their Scottish heritage.

Don’t forget the Wee Bairns area both days for the younger set along with the Junior Heavyweights and Track and Field on Saturday. Did we mention the Harp Workshop on Friday and the Whisky workshop on Saturday? For those who need to get in their fill of shopping wherever they go, the Games offers a fine assortment of vendors selling everything tartan as well as fine celtic jewelry, clothing and of course, haggis and mushy peas.

Make sure that the Massed Bands closing on Saturday evening is on the list of things to do. Anyone who has experienced the massed bands puts it down as one of their most memorable and unforgettable experiences. When the lone pipe band plays Amazing Grace and is joined by 1500 pipers and drummers, it will take your breath away.

The grounds are fully accessible. There are air-conditioned indoor spaces as well as many shady sites around the grounds for viewing and relaxing. ATMs are on site and washrooms are conveniently located.

For those who can’t make it to the Games, Friday morning from 6 to 10 am CTV Ottawa’s Morning Live Show will be onsite with Sarah Freemark showcasing some of the events at the Games. Many fans will listen in when Rob Snow from CFRA broadcasts live on Friday from 10 to 2. Corus Cornwall will be broadcasting live from the Games on Friday as well on Fresh 104.5.

The Games’ Facebook and Twitter pages will be posting throughout the Games and are an excellent way to check on records being set and some of the fun things happening.

Remember as every year, there will be a strong OPP presence on the Games site and along the area’s highways and byways. Make sure there is a designated driver for your group. Star

Taxis from Alexandria are usually in the Arena area to provide a way home for those who need it. Drive safe, stay safe and enjoy the Games.

See you at the Games! Friday, August 3 and Saturday, August 4. Ceud Mìle Fàilte! A hundred thousand welcomes! www.glengarryhighlandgames.com