Ben Tayler (left) and Stephen McIntosh sword fighting at the Highland Games in Westerner Park Saturday afternoon. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

WATCH: Celebrating Highland culture in Red Deer

The 71st Highland Games was held at Westerner Park Saturday

Central Albertans got to taste the Scottish life right in Red Deer this weekend.

There was food, live music and games at the 71st annual Red Deer Highland Games, at Westerner Park Saturday.

Mary Fink, 91, was the games’ Chieftain and officially kicked off the event around noon.

“When I was asked to do this I was shocked; it’s usually some tall handsome man,” said Fink.

Fink said the Highland Games are always amazing.

“This sort of thing we’re doing today is so beautiful,” said Fink. “The pipe bands are something that gets you in the heart. The minute I heard the pipes I was so happy and started crying.”

Jennifer Meyn, games chair, said even the rainy weather couldn’t take the fun out of the Highland Games.

“Rain is typically Scottish, so even with the rain it’s great to have everyone come out and support us,” she said.

READ MORE: Be a Scot for a day at Red Deer Highland Games

The event takes people with Scottish heritage back to their roots, she added.

“My grandmother and grandfather were from Scotland and we had the opportunity to go to Scotland five years ago to have my daughter dance. This event brings a little piece of Scotland here, which makes me very happy,” Meyn said.

Raye, Jennifer’s daughter, was one of the many highland dancers performing in a day-long competition Saturday.

“Dance in general is my life, so this is just another one to add to the list,” Raye said. “It’s cool to know the stories behind the dances and being able to connect with some of my family who used to do it.”

In addition to competing, Raye was in charge of the children’s area.

“As a kid I loved learning about my heritage, so being able to bring it to the kids is fun too,” she said.

Jennifer said even though the Red Deer Highland Games have run for more than 70 years, they’re just getting started.

“Next year is going to be even bigger and better,” she said. “It’s fun for all ages. If you’re Scottish you can come enjoy your heritage and if you’re not Scottish you can come and be a Scot for a day.”

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Aidan Ross plays the bagpipes during the Highland Games in Westerner Park Saturday afternoon. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

Caelen Brake (left) and Red Deer County’s Hope Jacobs dance at the Highland Games in Westerner Park Saturday afternoon. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

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