The festival will be held Sept. 5-7 at Edinboro University and Goodell Gardens in Edinboro and the Riverside Inn in nearby Cambridge Springs.
Several new events will debut this year, festival director Dr. Tim Thompson said. “Along with the U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Championships, we are adding a plein air — or open air — painting contest, an Instagram photo contest, community tents surrounding the gazebo, expanded kids’ games, and a return of the Friday bonfire by the lake on campus.”
Festivities begin Friday, Sept. 5, from 3 to 6 p.m. at Goodell Gardens with a Folk Harp Showcase, food, and Scottish beer by Erie Brewing. Later Friday on Edinboro University's campus, the regional fiddle championships start at 7 p.m. in the Frank G. Pogue Student Center, followed at 8 p.m. by the lighting of the festival bonfire and calling of the clans near the gazebo next to Mallory Lake.
The main festival and games will be held Saturday, Sept. 6, on the campus of Edinboro University, in and around McComb Fieldhouse at the corner of Scot and Scotland roads. The Highland Games feature Scottish and Celtic music, Scottish heavy athletic competitions, highland dance competitions, pipe band parades and competitions, fiddle competitions, harp competitions, Scottish and American foods, clan gatherings, gift and clothing vendors, and animal exhibits.
This year the festival is once again hosting the National Scottish Fiddle Championships.
Bagpipe music will fill the air throughout the day as pipe bands and soloists march together and compete. Highland dancers will compete all day inside McComb while the burly heavy athletes toss various weighty objects on the back lawns. Those events include the caber toss (flip a tree) and throwing hammer, stone, and 56-pound weights for height and distance.
An array of high-quality vendors will sell clothing, jewelry, glassware, and other goods. Scottish and American food vendors will offer sausage rolls, meat pies, shepherd’s pie, chicken dinners, kettle corn, cookies, desserts and more.
Many Scottish clans, Gaelic and Celtic groups, and the Robert Burns Scottish Club will have tents. This year, churches and nonprofit groups are invited to set up in the community tent near music stage at the gazebo.
The Games will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., followed by the ceilidh (kay-lee) dinner and music from 6 to 10 p.m. in the Student Center Multipurpose Room. All events are free except the ceilidh.
The ceilidh, the only ticketed event of the festival, features a delicious buffet dinner and music by the Chelsea House Orchestra and other musicians. “Many of the judges in for the competitions are former national champions themselves," said Thompson, "so the ceilidh becomes a feast for all the senses!"
Ceilidh tickets are $35. Advance purchase using the form available on the festival website is recommended.
On Sunday Sept. 7, events close with a Chelsea House orchestra concert at 11 a.m. in the gardens at the Riverside Inn, Cambridge Springs.
Festival information is available on the website at http://www.edinboro.edu/events/highlandgames/.
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