The Highland Games return to Topaz Park on May 21 and 22. (Black Press Media file photo)

The Highland Games return to Topaz Park on May 21 and 22. (Black Press Media file photo)

Highland Games calls in the calvalry for spring return to Victoria park

Scottish, Celtic games, music, traditions and food hit Topaz May 21 and 22

An added sunset ceremony performance brings new light to the 159th Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival as it returns to its roots at Topaz Park.

The festival kicks off May 14, when the Tartan Parade leaves Centennial Square at 11 a.m. and makes its way to the Legislature grounds for a short ceremony.

The bulk of the excitement fills Topaz Park May 21 and 22 including the sunset ceremony.

Saturday night the Strathcona Mounted Troop performs, then returns to close the Games late Sunday afternoon, while the Naden Band and Scottish regiment pipe bands provide musical performances.

The Strathcona Mounted Troop are soldiers of Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) based in Edmonton. Members volunteer for one or two years to serve similar to their peers would have in the 1920s – on horseback. Their daily schedule concentrates on the care of their mounts and equipment, and in cavalry drills and training. The members also remain ready for active military duty and participate in trade specific training.

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The team is also expected to participate in the Victoria Day Parade May 23.

The Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival returns to Topaz Park following two years of smaller events at Craigflower Manor, explained Jim Maxwell, president of the Victoria Highland Games Association.

“Prior to the pandemic, the Victoria Highland Games was a premier destination in North America for people looking for the best festivals of Scottish and Celtic music, dance, sport and heritage,” he said. More than 25,000 people are expected to participate in the festival activities.

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Due to construction at Topaz Park, some venue layout changes are expected, but activities remain the same. The event is a family-focused weekend of Scottish and Celtic arts and culture, including pipe band competitions, Scottish Highland and Irish dancing competitions, heavy events such as caber toss and hammer throw, haggis hurling, tug of war, Scottish country dancing, fiddling performances, folk music and genealogy booths and displays, historic military demonstrations and displays, Scottish/Celtic food and merchandise vendors. As a bonus, 17th and 18th century re-enactors add to the cultural experience.

For adults 19 and over there is a single malt whisky school and a wine tasting school. For the younger set there is a free children’s entertainment area.

Visit victoriahighlandgames.com for ticket prices and availability as well as the full schedule expected later this month.

c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca

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