Springfield Area Highland Games to celebrate Celtic culture


A celebration of Celtic culture is coming to New Berlin next month.

The Highland Games and Springfield Area Celtic Festival will run from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on May 14 at the Sangamon County Fairgrounds. The event will include competitions for traditional Celtic athletic events such as caber throw, sheaf throw and Scottish hammer throw.

As well as sports, the festival will include Celtic animals – Clydesdale horses, Highland cows and Irish greyhounds – Highland dancing and bagpipe competitions, a display of British cars and demonstrations of historic European martial arts by the Society for Creative Anachronism. Musical performers include traditional Irish band Turas, Celtic folk band Broken Brogue and Celtic fusion band The Emerald Underground.

The event is hosted annually by the St. Andrew’s Society of Central Illinois, a nonprofit organization that seeks to educate and promote Celtic culture statewide.

The tradition of the Highland Games is said to have started in 2000 BC in Ireland before migrating to Scotland in the fourth and fifth centuries. In the United States, the first Highland Games were held in 1836 in New York, followed by one in Detroit soon after. Today, more than 200 Highland Games are held in the United States and Canada.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for children and seniors. A limited number of VIP tickets cost $20 for children, $45 for adults, or $80 for two adults. Tickets are available online on the company’s website, centralillinoiscelts.com.

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Jennifer R. Strohm