There are games and then there are “The Games”. The BC Highland Games and Scottish Festival takes place on Saturday, June 17, 2017 at Percy Perry Stadium in Coquitlam, the BC Highland Games is an action-packed 10-hours of fun for the whole family, competition, dancing, food, and, of course, bagpipes.
“There’s a competitive aspect to the Games,” says Mike Chisholm, Chair of the BC Highland Games Committee, “so we work with a number of organizations – such as the BC Highland Dancing Association, the BC Pipers’ Association, and the Pacific Northwest Scottish Heavy Events Association – to make sure all our officially sanctioned events adhere to competitive rules.”
As a celebration of Scottish culture, the Scottish Heavy Events are a popular attraction.
“The BC Provincial Heavy Events Championships are held at the BC Highland Games every year,” Mike says, “and they feature a series of nine feats of strength events, including the Stone Putt, Distance Throws, the Hammer Toss, and everyone’s favourite, the Caber Toss.”
The Caber Toss has been described as “men in skirts throwing power poles,” and involves throwing a pole weighing from 70 to 130lbs.
“But it’s not just for men,” Mike explains. “Women are also welcome to participate. In fact our athletic director is heavy events competitor Karyn Dallimore. Karyn and some of her athletes are happy to have people come and practice with them, to learn the technique of throwing and tossing.”
Bagpipes are a natural draw and not just for the Scots. The Highland Games feature solo piping, drumming, and pipe band events.
“We have two types of bands,” Mike says, “the performance bands and the competition bands. The latter includes Burnaby’s Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, who have won the World Pipe Band Championships six times and placed 2nd or 3rd more than a dozen times.”
The highest level of piping competition takes place the night before the BC Highland Games officially open. At 5p.m. in the Highland Village at Percy Perry Stadium, you can catch the Piobaireachd (pronounced pea-brock) competition featuring the classical music of the Great Highland Bagpipe.
“It’s an amazing evening of Ceol Mor, or “the big music,” says Mike.
If you enjoy watching Scottish dancing, the Highland Dance Competitions combine energetic and complex dance moves with bagpipe music. Dancers are judged on timing, technique and general deportment.
Whatever your interest – strength, grace, or acoustic competitions – there’s an event for everyone and the whole family.
“Everyone is welcome,” Mike notes. “There’s no need to be Scottish or have Scottish ancestry. Just hop on the SkyTrain and join us for the fun.”
For more information on the BC Highland Games, call 604.263.9911 or visit the website. Tickets are available online at bchighlandgames.com/home/tickets-2017 The Highland Games can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.