Victoria’s 154th Highland And Celtic Festival
Once a year Victoria hosts the Highland and Celtic Festival. This year was the 154th festival celebrating Scottish and Celtic culture. The festival featured many historical competitions such as piping, drumming, Highland and Irish dancing, caber toss, stone throw, sheaf toss, and of course the legendary haggis toss, as well as a few modern additions, take the Lighthouse Brewing keg toss for example.
There were also many other forms of entertainment like the kilted mile race, bands, falconry, dog agility, sheep herding/shearing, various vendors, and the two most important things, the whiskey school and beer garden.
At this festival you will find kilts and bagpipes as far as your eye can see, hours of entertainment, as well as information on your heritage. You may even see a world record be broken like I did for the women’s heavy weight for distance by Jessica Bridenthal.
But it can’t be argued that the absolute best part of the Highland games is listening to mums explaining the heavyweight competitions to their little children. “Well, he/she wins by throwing the big stick the furthest and making it flip” aka the caber toss; “He/she tries to throw the big rock further than everybody else” aka throwing the stone; or even the Drum Majors “Whoever throws the stick the fanciest without dropping it wins”. Except for maybe looking at all the kilts — although for me this lead to a lot of kilt envy, so much so that I seriously considered trading my brother for one (I doubt they would accept him anyway).
I went to this three-day festival with my mum, because it used to be a bit of a tradition that I would go to the one in Coquitlam with either her or my Auntie, but it has been years since we were able to go together. We tried to get to as many of the events as possible, but we also managed to squeeze in some time to hunt down haggis to share. On the last day we had a picnic in the beer garden with Scottish beer brewed especially for the festival, accompanied by our own personal piper.
Out of all three jam-packed days, the thing I was most thankful for was that all the heavyweight competitors were not wearing their kilts the traditional way because that is something I would rather not experience.