27th Annual Highland Games Coming up this weekend

Highland Games in Itasca this weekend
Highland Games in Itasca this weekend

It’s time  again to break out your summer weight kilt, shortbread and haggis recipes, grab a caber and a bottle of Glen Fiddich to head out to Itasca for the 27th Annual Scottish Festival & Highland Games.

The Celtic fun happens at Hamilton Lakes on Friday, June 14 from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Saturday, June 15 from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.

“This is the largest and best Scottish festival in the Midwest,” said Gus Noble, President of the Chicago Scots stated in a press release. “We pride ourselves on making families feel like they’ve been transported to Scotland for a weekend of fun while enjoying a unique opportunity to learn more about Scottish culture.”

Friday’s activities include exhibits, vendors, a Highland Dance competition, heavy athletics, and rugby exhibitions, a Friday Night Fling, the crowning of the Heather Queen and Court and a Ceilidh with traditional and contemporary Celtic music on stage from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Saturday features a day-long pipe and drum competition; the Heavy Athletics U.S. Open Championship which holds the caber toss (flipping 20-foot, 140-pound tree trunk), the 22-pound hammer throw, the sheaf toss (flipping a bale of hay over a high bar) and the clachnert (throwing a 16-pound river stone);  a Highland Dance competition; the Rugby Sevens Highland Challenge;  the Coerver Cup 3v3 youth soccer tournament; Dogs of Scotland and other animal presentations.

Other attractions will be genealogy and cultural exhibits; the Parade of Clan Tartans; children’ activities;  competitions for patrons including the Kilted Mile Fun Run/Walk, a British car show, a Haggis hurling contest for women, a knobbly knees contest for men, as well as haggis eating and shortbread eating contests.

Attendees also can see musical performances on the Celtic Rock Stage, enjoy whisky tastings and seminars, eat fair and traditional Scottish foods and shop in the Celtic Marketplace.

The day culminates with the closing ceremonies and massed bands show, spectacle of 1,000 bagpipers and drummers, all joined in performing several traditional musical selections including Amazing Grace.

Admission information:

Friday-Children 12 and under are FREE; Adults $12.00

Saturday- Children under 2 are FREE; Children ages 3-12 $5.00; Adults $20.00

Two Day Pass – Children under 2 are FREE; Children ages 3-12 $5.00; Adults $30.00

Patron Weekend Pass (Family Friendly)- $150 This two-day pass includes entry into the festival (for 2 adults & 2 children), premier seating inside the Patron Tent, complimentary food and beverages, and a private access VIP Parking Pass.

Patron Weekend Pass (21 & Over)- $100 This two-day pass includes entry for one individual into the festival, premier seating inside the Patron Tent, complimentary food and beverages (including beer – not unlimited), and a private access VIP Parking Pass.

Hamilton Lakes  is located at I-290 and Thorndale Avenue.

Parking will be available on pavement in parking garages. Parking will be $5 per vehicle for parking on both Friday, June 14 and Saturday, June 15 or you can purchase a two-day parking pass for $8.

For more information, event schedules, competition registration forms or to purchase tickets, visit www.chicagoscots.org or call (708) 447-5092.

The celebration is a fundraiser for  the Illinois Saint Andrew Society. Established in 1845, the Society is the oldest 501(c)3 charity in Illinois. The Society nourishes Scottish identity through service, fellowship and celebration of Scottish culture. In addition to organizing initiatives to promote Scottish culture, the Society offers a range of elder care services at our Scottish Home.