Marching band, vendors and contests mark the weekend
Pleasant autumn weather graced the Aztec Highland Games and Celtic Festival at Riverside Park as the annual event, which began in 2011, drew more than 1,100 festival-goers over the October 1 weekend.
The festive and friendly atmosphere meant that smiling people like Kimberly and Robert Howe gladly accepted photos and conversation.
“We’re having a wonderful time,” said Kimberly Howe of Scotland’s Campbell Clan. “There are actually people from Ireland and Scotland participating. That makes it more authentic.”
Hosted by the current interpretation of the Highland Games, Robert Howe of Welsh-Anderson bloodlines, said: “I’m really, really pleased to see it growing year on year. A guy from Finland came.
Zachary Nelson and Esteban Munoz represented a younger audience. “Energy, music and vendors” were their highlights.
JR Sykes, former owner of the Aztec Talon newspaper, took the opportunity to kilt up and go wild.
“I love the music and just the community coming together and having fun,” his wife, Portia, said. JR’s favorite event is the hammer throw. “He was in the ‘bonny knees’ competition,” Portia joked.
Aztec Police Department officers Jacob Harris and Josh Harris posed with Adam Buchanan of Clan Buchanan, who said his favorite aspect of the Highland Games was “my culture”.
Angus Mohr, a loud but tight and professional band based in Denver, created a Celtic-flavored version of Bob Marley Stand upfor crowd pleaser.
Vendor organizer Cynthia Singleton said some of the 47 vendors liked the small size of the festival.
We have vendors who have been impressed by this, who have come from far and wide and are used to very big events, and this smaller, ‘It’s so much fun,'” Singleton said.
Rebecca and Robert Boyer of Albuquerque held a booth representing their clan.
“We promote Scottish culture and offer membership in the Scottish Society of New Mexico for Clan Anderson International,” said Robert Boyer. “And we also have books for people to look up where their clan is…and we have weapons that people might want to look at,” Rebecca added.
Powerful swords and impressive daggers, such as the Damascus steel model worn by Robert Boyer, were on display.
“It’s actually the only one I have that isn’t a replica,” Robert Boyer said.
Peter McKenna, commissioner of Clan McKensie, told schoolteacher Linda Willard-Brown the story of his Scottish roots.
McKenna, a Games participant for 11 years, said: “There are different highlights every year. Some bands have been really amazing. I really love watching the Games – they’ve set records here – and I love interacting with people who cross the clan.
“Clan” derives from the Gaelic “Clann”, which means “children” or “strain”.
Scott Michlin, general manager of KSJE 90.9-FM, San Juan College’s public radio station, served as emcee for his eighth year. “I know it brings people in…it’s a good thing for the city of Aztec, the venue is great here in Riverside Park, there’s a lot of room for people to spread out,” he said. -he declares.
Susan and John Bintz offered their pottery – displaying their 15 years of experience – from their stand.
“It’s a really hospitable event – and it’s very interactive, plus I get to see my story from my mum’s side – she’s Irish,” said John Bintz.
Grand Junction Supplier Sharon Taylor’s Taylor’s Croft sold “all the authentic Scottish stuff,” she said in a rich Scottish accent. Taylor, a Grand Junction retailer since 2003, said her products come from Glasgow and she helps artisans and businesses back home by buying directly from them.
“I’m a destination store, so people come from all over,” Taylor said.
According to Jessica Polatty, 863 festival-goers were present on Saturday and 251 on Sunday. Twenty-three dancers performed and 45 athletes competed.