The 154th Scottish Highland Gathering & Games takes place Labor Day weekend, August 31-September 1, at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.
“I invite everyone to visit us at the world’s most complete Celtic festival. It is not just for Scots,” said Rob Tysinger, Chief of the Caledonian Club of San Francisco, producer of the Games. “With over 20 different events and attractions, we offer something for everyone – from individuals to families.”
Topping the long list of attractions is the gathering of 30 pipe bands from the U.S. and Canada. These bands compete each day in their respective grades, then gather late in the afternoon to march onto the track in front of the grandstands to produce one of the world’s largest assemblies of pipe bands. The spectacle of the 750-plus pipers and drummers merging to face the grandstand audience is awesome in itself, but added to the grandeur is the march onto the track of the U.S. Marine Band integrated with the Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band from Vancouver, Canada.
The 45th U.S. Invitational Heavy Event Championships, consisting of Pro and Amateur Men and Women, features ten of the world’s top professional heavy-event athletes. In all, there are 87 athlete entries from 22 states and four countries. All athletes compete in all eight disciplines, including Caber, Weight-for-Height, Weight-for-Distance, Hammer, and Stone Put. This year the 20-lb. sheaf toss will feature the world champions in both the men’s and women’s divisions.
The Western United States Open Highland Dancing Championships takes place both days in the amphitheater stage area.
Seven stages of continuous entertainment from the traditional to Celtic Rock bring live music to all. Entertainers include Scotland’s Albannach and the crowd-pleasing Tempest among the 11 different groups. Two of the stages feature Celtic Heritage, consisting of fiddlers, harpists, country dancing and much more.
Living History goes back in time with Mary Queen of Scots and her entourage with the Highland Warriors and invading Vikings.
The Highland Games also feature the Glen of the Clans with nearly 100 clans assembled, Irish Step Dancing exhibitions, Children’s Glen for the little tikes, Sheep Dog Trials, Five-A-Side semi-pro soccer tournament, Birds of Prey, Highland Cattle, Clydesdale Team, Rugby and Shinty Tournaments, British automobiles, the Kilted Mile, and more than 100 vendors in air-conditioned buildings, Scottish and American food, and the popular Whisky Tasting Pavilion.
For schedules, admission and additional information, visit www.TheScottishGames.com.