The 22nd annual Edinboro Highland Games kicks off Sept. 10 and continues through Sept. 13. The Edinboro University campus will be filled with traditions of Scotland, including world-class musicians, fiddle and harp competitions, Highland dance and athletic competitions, pipe band and solo competitions, clan gatherings, fine gift vendors, kids’ crafts and games and traditional Scottish food.
The Highland Games first began in April of 1993 with several months of planning in Dr. Timothy Thompson’s communication classes. The very first Edinboro Highland Games and Scottish Festival featured 500 people who came to enjoy two pipe bands, one vendor, kids’ games and student athletic competitions. Today, the Highland Games attracts more than 5,000 people and groups such as the Chelsea House Orchestra. The festival now holds competitions in professional and amateur heavy athletics, pipe band, solo piping, drumming, highland dance, Celtic and Scottish harp and plays host to the U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Championships.
“I’m excited. We have a great crew, a great committee and great students helping this year. We have a few new things we have added this year, but it’s very much the same festival, ” said Thompson, festival director and a professor in the communication studies department.
Additionally, there have been some new events added this year. On Saturday, Sept. 12 from noon to 3 p.m. a beer tasting event will be held featuring beer from local breweries. The tasting is free and open to all 21 years of age or older with a valid ID. Students and the public can now participate in disc golf, canoe battleship and archery. Participants are encouraged to show off their Scottish pride while trying to sink a boat, learning to shoot a bow or getting a hole-in-one in disc golf. The temporary disc golf course will remain open until homecoming for students to enjoy, according to Thompson.
Other exciting events include a design competition for students and the return of “Paint Out” where artists create works of art in just two hours in competition for cash.
This year’s sponsors include Edinboro University Student Government Association, Erie Arts and Culture, Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority, Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts, Erie Brewing Company, The Riverside Inn, the Robert Burns Scottish Club and Edinboro University. The festival is set to begin Thursday, Sept. 10 at Sprague Farm & Brewery in Venango. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. with the Tiger Maple String Band and Festival Fiddlers.
Karlee Dies is the news editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at email@example.com.