Highland Games calls in cavalry for spring return to Victoria Park – Goldstream News Gazette

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A further performance of the Sunset Ceremony sheds new light on the 159th Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival as it returns to its roots at Topaz Park.

The festival kicks off on May 14, when the Tartan Parade leaves Centennial Square at 11 a.m. and heads to the Legislative Assembly grounds for a short ceremony.

Most of the excitement fills Topaz Park on May 21 and 22, including the Sunset Ceremony.

On Saturday evening, the Strathcona Mounted Troop perform, then return to close the Games in the late afternoon, while the Naden Band and Scottish Regimental Pipe Bands provide musical performances.

The Strathcona Mounted Troop is made up of soldiers from Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) based in Edmonton. Members volunteer for one or two years to serve as their peers would have done in the 1920s – on horseback. Their daily schedule focuses on the maintenance of their mounts and equipment, as well as the drills and training of cavalry. Members also remain ready for active military service and participate in trade-specific training.

The team is also expected to take part in the Victoria Day Parade on May 23.

The Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival are returning to Topaz Park after two years of smaller events at Craigflower Manor, explained Jim Maxwell, president of the Victoria Highland Games Association.

“Before the pandemic, the Victoria Highland Games was a top destination in North America for people looking for the best Scottish and Celtic music, dance, sport and heritage festivals,” he said. More than 25,000 people are expected to participate in festival activities.

Due to construction at Topaz Park, some site layout changes are expected, but activities remain the same. The event is a family weekend of Scottish and Celtic arts and culture, including pipe band competitions, Scottish and Irish dancing competitions, heavyweight events such as caber throwing and hammer throwing, the Haggis throwing, tug of war, Scottish country dancing, fiddling shows, folk music and genealogy booths and exhibits, historical military demonstrations and exhibits, vendors of Scottish/Celtic food and wares. As a bonus, 17th and 18th century re-enactors add to the cultural experience.

For adults aged 19 and over there is a single malt whiskey school and a wine tasting school. For the youngest there is a free children’s entertainment area.

To visit victoriahighlandgames.com for ticket prices and availability as well as the full schedule expected later this month.

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Jennifer R. Strohm