The Red Deer Highland Games were first held in 1947.
“For a number of years it was just a Highland dance competition,” said Janessa McCormack, Red Deer Highland Games Association president.
Central Albertans gathered at Harvard Business Park in Springbrook Saturday to celebrate 75 years of the event, which celebrates Scottish and Celtic culture.
“As the years passed by, we evolved to bring in more of the piping and drumming, and the heavy events,” McCormack said, estimating as many as 1,000 people attended the event.
“The people are so thrilled to be here and our community is so thrilled to support us.”
There were a number of events throughout the day, including heavy athletics competitions, piping and drumming competitions, Highland dance demonstrations, a Celtic market, sheep dog demonstrations, a pub on site and more.
The event concluded with a 75th anniversary Ceilidh, which is a social event with folk music, singing, dancing and storytelling.
This weekend’s event, which invited the community to “be a Scot for the day,” served as a big comeback for the Red Deer Highland Games – the event was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are one of the longest continuously running events in Red Deer. Minus the two COVID years, we haven’t missed one year,” said McCormack.
“We have waited so long for today. I know so many of our competitors and so many of our fellow clansmen look forward to this event every year. We are the Highland Games kickoff of Central Alberta. It’s amazing we’re able to host them and that we were able to pull this off, because we were still under restrictions when planning started.”
The Red Deer Highland Games’ honorary chieftains, Dick and Donna Draves, kicked off the event around noon. The event is hosted and organized by a team of volunteers.
For more information on the Red Deer Highland Games Association, visit www.reddeerhighlandgames.com.