Highland Games at Edinboro University Celebrate Beauty, Brawn of Scottish Culture

25th annual Highland Games & Scottish Festival kicks off Sept. 6

Let the games begin! Edinboro University’s picturesque campus will be filled with the colorful traditions of Scotland during the 25th annual Highland Games & Scottish Festival, Sept. 6-9.

Featuring world-class musicians, Celtic vendors, national fiddle and harp championships, highland dance and athletic competitions, pipe band and solo competitions, clan gatherings, kids’ crafts and games and traditional Scottish food, the festival serves as a tribute to the University’s founders and ongoing association with the history and traditions of Scotland.

Events are held on the Edinboro University campus and at various off-campus sites.

Festivities begin Thursday, Sept. 6, with “High Tea on the Hill” at Scotland Yards Greenhouse & Nursery at 4:30 p.m., followed by an evening of music, ale and fun at Sprague Farm & Brew Works from 7-9 p.m.

On Friday, Sept. 7, the First United Presbyterian Church in Edinboro will host the annual Scottish & Celtic Harp Showcase from 3-5:30 p.m., followed by a Scottish Harp Concert at 7 p.m. Several Friday activities are also planned on EU’s main campus, including a single-malt whisky tasting, a fiddle workshop and the Regional Scottish Fiddle Championships. Both fiddling events are set for the Frank G. Pogue Student Center, at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.

The evening will conclude with the lighting of the festival bonfire and calling of the clans on the lawns near the gazebo next to Mallory Lake.

“The festival is full of fascinating events,” said Dr. Melissa Gibson, co-director of this year’s festival. “From the high tea to the bonfire and beyond, the events truly embody the Scottish spirit of independence and thoughtfulness.”

The main festival events and games will be held throughout Saturday, Sept. 8, on the campus of Edinboro University, in and around McComb Fieldhouse at the corner of Scot and Scotland roads, and at the adjacent Van Houten Dining Hall and Pogue Student Center.

The festival is once again hosting the National Scottish Fiddle Championships and the U.S. National Scottish Harp Championships. Additional Saturday highlights include a dramatic opening ceremony at noon, beer tasting from several regional breweries, art exhibits and competitions, as well as many contests and games.

Bagpipe music will overtake the campus as bands, drummers and pipers march together and compete. Highland dancers will also compete inside McComb Fieldhouse, while athletes toss various weighty objects on the back lawns. Those events include the caber toss (flip a tree), as well as hammer, stone and 56-pound weight throws for height and distance.

An array of high-quality vendors will be on hand, selling clothing, jewelry, glassware and other goods. Scottish and American food vendors offer full dinners, sausage rolls, meat pies, shepherd’s pie, chicken dinners, ice cream, kettle corn, desserts and more.

“You can catch most festival events Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.,” said Dr. Tim Thompson, festival founder and co-director. “Get here by noon to see the opening ceremony—it’s pretty spectacular.”

All festival events are free and open to the public, except the Ceilidh (kay-lee) dinner and the single malt whisky tasting. The Ceilidh features a delicious buffet dinner, cash bar, music and dance. Hosted by the Robert Burns Scottish Club of Erie, reservations are $40 per person.

Events go rain or shine. Full festival information is available at www.edinboro.edu/highlandgames.

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