Dana Campbell

Topaz pipes in Highland Games

The 2014 Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival runs this weekend at Topaz Park

A new battle of the pipes marks the 2014 Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival this weekend at Topaz Park.

New this year is the Canada vs. U.S. Grade 1 Pipe Band Competition which will pit the top Grade 1 pipe band from Canada (the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band) against the top U.S. pipe band (the LA Scots Pipe Band) as they prepare for the world championships in Scotland later this year.

The Games association also added an elite women’s category in the heavy events, something Carl Jensen, a member and competitor for the last 10 years, says adds to the experience.

“Spectators will be able to see both male and female world-class athletes at the games representing the professional side of the sport,” he said.

The weekend will also feature cultural endeavours such as Whisky School, sheep shearing demonstrations, sheepdog herding trials, Highland dance competitions, music and more.

“It’s an event that offers something for everyone and it really brings the community together,” Jensen said.

The association has run the Games since 1937 to preserve the cultural aspect while offering a variety of events.

“What’s amazing is how much the Games have evolved and changed … into an all encompassing event that celebrate Scotland’s culture and heritage,” said Jensen.

Gates are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Advance tickets ($12 for single-day adult admission, $10 for seniors and youth) for the games are available at The Strath Liquor Store, Hotel Grand Pacific and Liquor Planet. Children under 12 get in free.

For details visit victoriahighlandgames.com.