Music and competition will highlight the Glengarry Highland Games on July 29-30

For many people the Highland Games from Glengarry to Maxville means the sound of the bagpipes and the sight of massed bands marching through the infield, but for many others the Games are the greatest opportunity to hear all your favorite Celtic bands in one place. time. After a long wait, everyone is ready for a real ceilidh and this year’s entertainment lineup at the Games on July 29 and 30 is sure to please.

Starting Friday, July 29, the show begins at 1 p.m. at the Metcalfe Center showcasing the musical talents of local bands. This year’s lineup includes Stewart’s Glen, The MacCulloch Dancers, Hughie McDonell, The Ceilidh Drovers, Glengarry Girls Choir and Hadrian’s Wall.

Thousands of Games fans believe that the Friday Night Tattoo is the highlight of the Games. This two-hour extravaganza features music, dance and pageantry, all staged on the indoor grounds under a summer night sky. To kick off the Tattoo, our very own Glengarry Massed Fiddlers take to the stage after a three-year hiatus that will let everyone know the Games are back and the show is about to begin. What a treat it will be to see the MacCulloch Dancers return to the field and perform their world famous routine.

The applause will continue throughout the evening with bagpipes and military bands marching onto the grounds and Hadrian’s Wall to keep the magic going. The evening ends with music, fireworks and memories that will last long after the Games are over. If you don’t have a seat in the stands, bring your chair and find a comfortable spot on the indoor pitch.

Beòlach of Cape Breton will headline the Tattoo, with captivating arrangements of traditional Cape Breton, Scottish and Irish tunes for fiddle, bagpipes, piano and guitar. Their energy and the natural easy wit and banter of the musicians have thrilled audiences around the world. Last October, they were one of three groups representing Canada at the World Expo in Dubai. Their three albums have been nominated for the East Coast Music Awards, the Canadian Folk Music Awards and the Nova Scotia Music Awards, of which they have won five and one Juno Award nomination.

After the Tattoo for those who want to celebrate the return of the Games in a livelier way, be sure to head to the Tent for the Friday Night Dance featuring Bang on the Ear.

Wall-to-wall music on Saturdays

Saturday is wall-to-wall Celtic entertainment. The Metcalfe Center afternoon lineup includes Bob Burnie and Friends, The Brigadoons and Friday night headliners Beòlach. At the same time, in the Tent, the entertainment ramps up with Fridge Full of Vides, Bang on the Ear and Brandy N’ Port. At 6 p.m. there is a break for everyone to surround the infield and enjoy the fabulous performance of the mass groups. At 7 p.m., the entertainment venues come alive with The Two Paddys at the Metcalfe Center while in the tent, Fridge Full of Empties will keep the dance floor packed until closing time at 10 p.m.

Remember that once you enter the park, access to the concert halls is included in your admission ticket, except for the Friday night dance and grandstand seating. The dance is $10 and grandstand seating is $5.31. See the Games website for more details at

Competition will be fierce at the Games

People flock to the Glengarry Highland Games knowing it will be a fantastic celebration of all things Scottish. In fact, it’s one of the biggest Scottish celebrations in North America. It is also the site of serious competition where World, Canadian and Games records are broken and set. Athletes and musicians from around the world come to the Games knowing that the mark is high and the competition will be

The best piping in North America

Since the first Games in 1948, the Glengarry Highland Games have been synonymous with bagpipes. As the home of the North American Pipe Band Championships™, the Games are known for attracting a large number of pipe bands who compete to leave the field with the title of best on the continent.

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This year, due to the elimination of many band gatherings by COVID-19 and the addition of high fuel prices, there has been an impact on the number of bands with a total of thirty pipe bands competing . However, all levels of competition from 1 to 5 will be present and pipe bands will come from the Maritimes, New York and Calgary, Alta., ready to compete on Saturday. The Grade One pipe band, the 78th Fraser Highlanders with 12 North American championships, will be there to take on the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) also North American champions and finalists at the World Pipe Championships in Scotland. A full program can be found at

Friday night’s Tattoo will have a great bagpipe show with eleven bands in the mass band performance. Also on Fridays, there are competitions for bagpipe and solo drum enthusiasts in grades 1-5 (except bass and tenor drums). On Saturday, all professional bagpipe and solo drum and tenor and bass drum competitions will take place. Finally, after three years of waiting, the long-awaited bagpipe concert on Saturday evening will be back from 6 p.m. Be sure to be there, as the bagpipes fill the infield and put on another magnificent show to close out the Games.

There is also another type of piping in the Anglican and United churches in downtown Maxville. The Piobaireachd Society (Canada) Gold Medal Competition, one of North America’s premier solo bagpipe competitions, will take place on Friday and will attract top pipers from Canada, the United States and the foreign. Additionally, there are amateur piobaireachd competitions on Fridays followed by professional piobaireachd on Saturdays at the main courts. Piobaireachd is the classic musical version of piping and it was the music that summoned clans to battle, celebrated sweet victory and terrible loss.

World-class heavyweight competition

Friday and Saturday heavyweight competitions are always a crowd pleaser and this year’s full roster of athletes will provide an exciting display of strength and endurance.

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Beginning Friday morning at 8 a.m., amateur heavyweight competitors from across Glengarry will kick off a full day of competition featuring the hammer throw, sheaf throw and of course the caber. The heavyweight women’s event this year attracted a large number of competitors for their Friday event. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., local fans will cheer on Lisa MacDonald of Alexandria and Laura Reusser now from Alberta but originally from Martintown. They will have stiff competition from the ever-popular Josée Morneau of Winnipeg as well as Games and Canadian champion Susie Lajoie of Nova Scotia. 2019 Games champion Morgan Palmer of New York State is also looking to put in another strong performance.

The Masters take to the field on Fridays from 1-6 p.m. and demonstrate that they still have those talents that once put them in the Pros. Local favorites Jason Baines of Dalkeith and Lee McKinnon of Lancaster will put their skills to the test against former champions Kevin Fast, Warren Trask and Danny Frame of Nova Scotia who set a Guinness record in 2018 throwing the caber 16 times in three minutes.

On Saturday, the Open Professional Heavyweight events will begin at 9 a.m. Competitors include former Games champion Matthew Doherty of Antigonish, N. A new face in the roster will be Lorne Colthart of Ottawa previously from Scotland who has won many prestigious titles at home and will now test his skills against the best of Maxville.

There is an intermediate heavyweight competition at 8 a.m. on Saturdays open to male and female teens ages 13-17. To participate they must have attended one of the local clinics or trained with someone who organizes Highland Games heavyweight events. For more information on clinic dates and/or to register for the competition, contact Lisa MacDonald at [email protected]

Highland dancing is a Games favorite

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Highland dancing is another competition at the Games that attracts large numbers of entries from across the country. This year, once again, more than 200 dancers will perform their complex steps in the Pre-Premier, Premier Restricted and Premier National competitions on Friday while on Saturday the World Champions, North American, Canadian and Ontario Champions will present their best dancing at
Glengarry Highland Games Open Championship.

The Highland Dance competition is now held in the sports arena to prevent bad weather from interrupting the competitions. Once again, the John Angus Carther Trophy will be presented on Saturday to the SD&G dancer with the most combined points.

The Scottish broadsword is popular

A new event introduced to the Games in 2019, the Scottish saber drew a lot of attention. This year’s tournament and workshop will take place on Friday in the Broadsword tent. Educational workshops and tournaments will welcome fencers from as far away as Manitoba and Maryland (USA).

The name of the event, An Cruinneachadh, means ‘The Gathering’ in Gaelic and is an opportunity for the historic broadsword, staff and smallsword fencing communities of central and eastern Canada and the east coast of the United States to come together for a few days of training. and competition. Expanding on the 2019 Single Stick Tournament, An Cruinneachadh 2022 will feature tournaments in Scottish Small Sword and Highland Single Stick (both held on Fridays from 10am) and Highland Broadsword (Saturdays at 10am) in the Broadsword Tent (located next to the large Tent). The semi-finals and finals will take place at Circle One at 4:30 p.m.

Another development from 2019 is the introduction of a youth competition (11-17) in Scottish Small Sword and Highland Single Stick on Friday 29 July. A workshop will also take place on Thursday at 10 a.m.

Tug of War always gets exciting

Six Highland military regiments from across Canada will take to the field on Saturday to compete in this year’s Highlanders Tug of War Challenge. The final draw for the Cup takes place on Saturday just before the performance of the mass groups.

On Friday evening, in front of the mass of fiddlers, another tug of war will take place. This one with teams much closer to home, as North Glengarry takes on South Glengarry in the Battle of Clans. To date, South Glengarry leads the tally, but every year is a new team, so all bets are off on this one.

Nate MacRae Memorial Rugby Tournament

Rugby is also returning to the Games this year. The Nate MacRae Memorial Tournament will take place on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. near the clan buildings with the final matches on the indoor court. The format is box seven and the divisions are U18 girls, women and men.

The tournament is in memory of Nate who lost a battle with cancer. He was a sportsman, loving competition and the camaraderie generated by sport. He loved his Celtic heritage and was affectionately called “The Scotsman” by teammates and friends.

There are so many competitions taking place over the two days of the Games that it will be difficult to follow them all. Check out the Games website, glengarryhighlandgames.comto plan your visit to the Games and when to be there to cheer on your favorite competitors.

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Jennifer R. Strohm