Animals that originated in Scotland can be found at some events. There may be wagons pulled by Clydesdale horses that carry people around the grounds. Local farmers may have Highland cattle and Scottish breed sheep (Black Face, Shetland) on exhibits.
Enumclaw sports a dog parade and show. I’ve seen sporting breeds like Golden Retrievers and Gordon Setters, working breeds like Collies and Shelties, and companion breeds like Yorkshire and Scottish Terriers and the West Highland White Terrier. At one small event a man walked the grounds with a Scottish Deerhound on leash.
Many Scottish Games and Festivals now include a children’s area where young Scots can try their hand at scaled down versions of the athletic events, color pictures of castles and the Loch Ness Monster and do various kinds of handcrafts. Scottish stories can be heard at some locations.
Camping on or near the event grounds is available at many venues. The Pacific Northwest Highland Games (Enumclaw, WA) and the Grandfather Mountain (N. Car.) Highland Games have camping areas for both RVs and tents. Athletes and pipe bands are most likely to camp on-site. Vendors, clan booth representatives and festival-goers also sometimes camp to be near the site and to save money.
The camping area at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games is particularly colorful with the large variety of flags and banners hanging from lines strung between the trees.
The campground is not only a place to rest and eat but also provides a great meeting place for comraderie during the day and around the campfire at night.
You’ve probably drawn the conclusion that there is a lot to see and do at the Scottish Highland Games or a Scottish Festival but you’re still wondering what the difference is between the two.
Scottish Festivals do not include athletic or dancing competitions. You will find the parade, entertainment, vendors and clan booths and frequently the animals and childrens’ activities. Athletics and Highland dancing, if present, will be for exhibition only. An event that advertises itself as “Highland Games” will always have at least the athletic competitions.
I hope you have the opportunity to attend a Scottish Highland event this summer. They are found all over the United States and there are also many in Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as in Scotland. I love the colors, excitement, pageantry and music at the Games and festivals and I think you will too.
To find a North American Scottish Game or Festival near you look for the Association of Scottish Highland Games and Festivals at http://www.asgf.org/ on the internet. You can do a Google search to find games in other countries. To see more pictures of a typical Highland games event you can go to the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games website at http://www.gmhg.org