Red Deer Highland Games will host its milestone 70th games on June 17 at Westerner Park.
Chair Jennifer Meyn said the Red Deer event is one of the biggest and longest running highland games in Alberta.
“A lot of places have lost their games. We’re trying to keep this alive. We want to be there for another 70 years,” Meyn said.
She said in recent years the Red Deer games also came close to disappearing, but people pulled together this year to make it happen.
“We’re quite large this year and we want to get bigger. It’s great family fun for everyone of all ages. It’s really something if you’ve never been. You need to check out. And if you’ve been there before it’s definitely worthwhile coming back.”
The games have returned to Westerner Park which is a bigger venue for more highland fun, she said.
“Even if you don’t have Scottish heritage, you feel like a Scotsman when you’re there. It’s really entertaining. It’s about enjoying the day.”
Athletes will be tossing cabers and sheaves. Hammers and weights will be thrown. Tug-of-war teams will go head-to-head. Red Stags medieval battle group will entertain, and the 78th Fraser Highlanders Senior Regiment with black powder muskets will set up a mock army camp.
Dancers will compete in the highland fling, Irish jig, sword dance and more. Pipers and drummers will compete. Traditional shortbread will be judged. The band Celtic Jam Jars will fill McPherson’s Pub with music. Sheep dogs will perform demonstrations and a new children’s activity area will be added. Scottish vendors will also be on site.
Meyn said volunteering is a great way to check out the games.
Parking at the Westerner is included in the cost of admission. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and children 11 and older, and a family pass is $40. Programs are $5 each. Gates open at 8 a.m.
For more information or to purchase tickets go online at www.reddeerhighlandgames.ca or visit the games on Facebook.