The event organizers are eagerly awaiting the 63rd Ligonier Highland Games scheduled for Saturday 17 September. Held at Idlewild & SoakZone on U.S. Route 30, doors open at 8 a.m. and the final event is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.
For Kelly Shaffer, publicist for the Ligonier Highland Games, the event is “an annual occasion to celebrate all things Scottish”.
Attendees will be able to explore traditional Scottish arts, culture, music and sports during the event.
“The Ligonier Highland Games promotes and preserves the cultural, musical and athletic traditions of one of the major immigrant groups in the southwestern Pennsylvania region, the Scots,” Shaffer said. “The games encourage athletes, musicians and dancers to master their art and share it with the public.”
It’s one of the ways the games continue to thrive, Shaffer said, as she sees different generations of families attend the event each year.
“In this way, new generations discover and learn to appreciate the cultural heritage that stretches from this part of Pennsylvania to Scotland,” she said. “You will see two or three generations of families leaving. It’s a wonderful opportunity.
In the 63rd year of the event, Shaffer said that as a non-profit organization the proceeds support scholarships in the arts and Scottish athletics.
“Students learning Scottish dances have benefited from this, among other things,” Shaffer said. “We celebrate Scottish traditions and share them with the region. Games provide this opportunity.
With over 7,000 people flocking to Ligonier for this annual gathering of clans, the centuries-old tradition of coming together in song, food, music and games lives on.
“The first thing you’ll notice on entering Idlewild Park is the sound of pipers and pipers drumming, fiddlers showing off their Strathspey and Reel skills, the ringing of handbell choirs and four stages of Scottish and Celtic performers ,” Shaffer said.
Shaffer has been attending the games since she was 14 and is still emotional about some aspect of the event.
“All the bands in the competition play together during the welcoming ceremonies and then again towards the end of the event. You can hear the sound of movement through your chest,” Shaffer said. very unique and it’s an amazing experience.”
Throughout the day, participants can stroll between competitions for the best individual pipers, drummers and drum majors. Sporting events, for professional and amateur athletes, include the iconic caber throw, sheaf throw and hammer throw.
Attendees can also experience a living history demonstration of the Scottish Army, displays of purebred Scottish dogs and the timeless traditions of the Scottish fiddle and harp. There will also be a Scottish Highland Dancing Competition featuring the Highland Fling, Sword Dance, Highland Reel, Sailor’s Hornpipe and Scottish Lilt.
Young visitors can have fun in the ‘Children’s Games’ area, where they can win ribbons for Scottish children’s sporting events.
“I have tears in my eyes because little kids are so intense throwing their little cabers,” Shaffer said. “That best reflects what we are trying to do.”
Scattered throughout the park, attendees can watch demonstrations of crafts such as weaving and spinning, storytelling and Scottish country dancing. Over 30 clans will host tents so participants can explore the history, legend and tartan of each family group.
The event didn’t take place in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the games “came back strong” the following year, Shaffer said, and organizers look forward to growth and success. continuous.
Admission prices are $20 for adults (18-54), $18 for seniors (55+), $5 for teens (13-17) and youth (12+). less) enter for free. Idlewild & SoakZone will be open on game day. An additional ticket is required to enjoy the park’s rides and attractions.
- Devilish Merry – Celtic folk band based in Pittsburgh
- The Low Kings – 6 piece Celtic rock band playing a mix of rock and traditional pub music
- Sean Patrick Regan – third-generation bagpiper who is a former National and World Solo Amateur Bagpipe Champion
- Abbots Cross – traditional and modern Celtic duo
- Mike Flaherty – local Celtic folk singer and ballad player from Pittsburgh
- Melinda Crawford & Company – Scottish fiddler, mixing traditional tunes with original compositions
- Red McWilliams – a rich baritone voice, percussive guitar and bawdy sense of humor
- Waterhorse – hailed as the ‘Celtic Flag Bearer of Chautauqua County’
- Richpatrick Celtic Trio – Celtic folk music, both traditional and contemporary
- Druidsong – Pittsburgh-based Bruce Golightly performing Celtic folk music
- Dennis Doyle – traditional Celtic harp music mixed with stories, songs and bits of history
The Ligonier Highland Games offer amateur, masters and women’s heavy athletics courses, including:
- Caber toss – log of wood that is thrown end to end, with points based on spin or landing position;
- Braemar Stone and Stone Laying – in Open Stone, the contestant “approaches the throwing area”. The Braemar Stone is thrown from a standing position, with no approach allowed;
- Weight for distance – a metal weight is thrown with one hand, usually using a spinning technique. The longest throw wins;
- Hammer throw – feet in a fixed position, hammer swirling around the head and thrown at a distance, and
- Sheaf Toss – a 20 pound burlap sack of hay is thrown with a pitchfork over a bar. The highest draw wins.
HIGHLAND DANCE COMPETITION STYLES
The Ligonier Highland Games welcome dance competitors at the Novice, Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate and Premier levels.
- Highland Fling – Probably the oldest of Scotland’s traditional dances, the Highland Fling signifies victory after a battle. The dance was a feat of strength and agility, as they danced on their upturned shields which had a sharp steel spike in the center.
- Sword Dance – Legend has it that the first Gillie Callum was created by a Celtic prince who fought in 1054. Triumphant, he crossed his opponent’s sword with his own and danced over them to celebrate his victory. It is also said that warriors danced the sword dance before battle. If the warrior touched the swords, it was considered an omen symbolizing injury or death in battle.
- Seann Truibhas (“Old Trousers”) – This dance was born out of a political protest dating back to 1745 when wearing a kilt was an act of treason. Pronounced “shawn trews”, this Gaelic expression means “old pants”. The beautiful and graceful marches reflect the restrictions imposed by foreign pantaloons and the brisk, brisk pace reflects the Highlanders’ celebration of newfound freedom.
- The Strathspey and Highland Reel – Of all the Highland dancing events in which competitors compete, the reels are the closest to social dancing. Even these, however, are individual competitions. While teams are made up of four dancers, judges score each contestant individually.
- Scottish Lilt / Flora MacDonald’s Fancy / Scotch Measure / Earl of Errol – These four dances (and others) are known as the Scottish National Dances. They are of more modern origin and were collected from old dancing masters. National dances are very similar to Highland dances, but the style is more fluid and ballet.
- Sailor’s Bagpipe – This dance is common to many parts of the British Isles. It takes its name from the fact that the musical accompaniment was usually played on bagpipes rather than bagpipes. Bagpipes were common instruments in those days, comparable to our tin whistle today. The dance became popular among sailors and is now associated with sailors.
- Pas de basque and high cuts – This is a combination of steps and extensions, similar to ballet steps. Dancers will extend their feet and work in combination with skipping steps, alternating sides, to build basic moves for more complex dances that will be learned later.