The Glengarry Highland Games will be going virtual again in 2021, but organizers are hoping to be able to hold some small live events, as they build towards a big return for the games to Maxville in 2022.

“We want to provide our many fans in the area and others from far way with some ways to stay connected to the games,” explained Dona Cruickshank, Director of Advertising and Past President of the Highland Games. “We’re hoping to be able to host some events continuing through August and maybe into September, to try to give people a little taste of the games.”

Scheduled for July 29-30, the games will instead proceed online for 2021. Organizers were hopeful over the winter that the Highland Games could return to normal this year, however rising COVID-19 case numbers in Ontario over the past few months dashed any possibility of a full return.

As in 2020, the Games’ social media accounts will present a series of online entertainment in late July. If conditions allow this summer, the Games will be exploring the possibility of hosting a few small live events extending beyond the traditional dates of the Games. Updates will be posted regularly on the Glengarry Highland Games website and on the event’s Facebook page

In the meantime, there is one exciting event to share that relates to the Games online entertainment lineup. The Pipers and Pipe Band Society of Ontario (PPBSO) is presenting six online contests for solo piping and drumming open to all its members. Drum majors will also have their own section in the competitions.

A separate contest will be held for each of Ontario’s highland games, with the Glengarry games registration and submission closing on July 17. Highland dress isn’t necessary to compete but an overall ‘best dressed’ prize will be awarded for best Highland attire. The final results for the Glengarry Highland Games competition will be streamed live at the traditional time of the closing massed bands on Saturday, July 31.

With COVID-19 vaccines now being widely distributed and the number of new cases declining, games organizers are looking towards a big return in 2022.

“(We want) to remind everyone that there will be a huge reunion in 2022 when the games finally return in full force and we can all get together in Maxville and celebrate the games and all they mean to us,” Cruickshank said, noting the importance of the Glengarry Highland Games to people from the region. “It’s quite an emotional event for people in the area, who see it almost as a homecoming, a reunion and a moment to connect with friends, family and their heritage.”

The past president of the games also pointed out how many people from outside the region visit Maxville and area to take in the sights and sounds of the huge Celtic celebration.

“I think everybody is quite amazed that this is here in this little village of 900 people,” Cruickshank observed.