Haggis, hammer and caber await at 3 days of Highland Games

Help celebrate Victoria’s Scottish and Celtic history at the Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival, one of the longest-running festivals in North America. The games take place Saturday, Sunday and Monday at Topaz Park.

This is the festival’s 156th year, with more than 25,000 people expected to attend events surrounding the gathering of the clans.

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Festivities began May 11 with a parade, a pub crawl and clan torchlight ceremony at various venues around Greater Victoria.

Jim Maxwell, president of the Victoria Highland Games Association, said this year’s event will be the largest ever held in the city.

“The Victoria Highland Games has become a premier destination in North America for people looking for the best festivals of Scottish and Celtic music, dance, sport and heritage,” Maxwell said.

Activities this weekend highlight Scottish and Celtic arts and culture, including pipe-band competitions, Scottish Highland and Irish dancing, heavy events such as the caber toss and hammer throw, kilted mile athletics, haggis hurling, dog-agility competitions and a tug-of-war.

Enjoy Scottish country dancing, fiddling performances and Celtic bands performing at the Celtic Music Tent.

Falconry demonstrations and swordfighting competitions are also on the agenda.

Discover your roots at the Scottish Clan and genealogy booth, or explore historic military demonstrations and displays, with 17th- and 18th-century re-enactors adding to the cultural experience.

Scottish/Celtic food and merchandise vendors will be on the festival grounds. Adults 19 and older can check out a single-malt whisky school and a wine-tasting school.

For children, there is a large entertainment area.

Single-day admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and youth (13 to 18 years) and free for children 12 and under at the gate (cash only but ATMs are present). A three-day pass is $30 for adults and $24 for seniors and youth.

The festival runs 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday at Topaz Park, Topaz Avenue, Finlayson and Blanshard streets. Parking is limited. Please leave pets at home.

For more information, go to victoriahighlandgames.com.

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