During a road trip in early July we were fortunate enough to attend the 17th annual Skagit Valley Highland Games & Celtic Festival.
A lot of activities were going on at the same time, bagpipe and drumming competitions greeted us before we even entered Edgewater Park where the festival was being held in Mount Vernon WA. If you don’t like bagpipes … you are in the wrong place.
Other forms of music found at the festival were Fiddling, Harps and Celtic bands.
We were drawn to the area where the Traditional Scottish Athletics were being held. The first event that we saw was a Weight over the Bar, where the athletes try to throw a 54 lb. (4 stone) weight over a horizontal bar with one hand. We were amazed at how high they were able to throw the weights. Another event we watched was the Sheaf Toss where the athletes use a pitchfork to throw a 20 lb. burlap bag of straw as high as possible over a horizontal bar. There was some very large, very strong men in these competitions.
Traveling along, we paused for a while and watched a local group perform some Scottish County Dancing… The smiles on their faces were a testament to how much they enjoy the dance.
Next we watched the Sheepdog Trials. It is a competition where a herding dog moves a small herd of sheep around a timed preset course directed by their handlers. The communication between dog and handler is amazing, bordering on telepathy at times.
Like many festivals this one had a beer garden and to my surprise they also had a whisky tasting garden. (Must be a Scottish tradition) perhaps we should change our name to MacHymas.
One area was set aside for people dressed in armor worn during the middle ages to do mock battle using swords and shields. The kids really loved it.
After several trips around the festival our legs were a wee bit tired so after a brief stop to enjoy the Highland Dancing we called it a day.