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Holy haggis! 159th Victoria Highland Games Celtic Festival is back

World-class festival returns to Topaz Park May 21 and 22

It’s time to don your tartan, tune the bagpipes and warm up those haggis-hurling muscles: The 159th Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival returns this month to celebrate all things Scottish!

Beginning with the Tartan Parade downtown on May 14, and continuing at Topaz Park May 21 and 22, the renewed festival returns after two years of limited activities due to COVID-related public health orders. With your favourite events and activities, and a few new surprises, the Victoria Highland Games Association welcomes you back to the large grass fields at Topaz Park.

“We’re thrilled to back at Topaz Park for this year’s event,” says Jim Maxwell, association president. “The last 2 years we’ve had to keep it very local and small, and we’ve been planning for when public health orders would allow us to once again hold the full-scale festival.”

A family-focused weekend of Scottish and Celtic arts and culture, the Victoria Highland Games includes:

  • Pipe band competitions
  • Scottish Highland and Irish dancing competitions
  • Heavy events, like the caber toss, hammer throw
  • Haggis hurling and tug of war
  • Scottish country dancing
  • Fiddling performances
  • Scottish/Celtic and folk music bands
  • Scottish clan and genealogy booths and displays
  • Historic military demonstrations and displays
  • Scottish/Celtic food and merchandise vendors

New for this year’s event is the Saturday Evening Sunset Ceremony performance, the highlight of which will be the Strathcona Mounted Troop, also performing late Sunday afternoon to close the games.

As a family-friendly event, the festival welcomes the whole family to come out and join in the fun, including a large free entertainment area for children.

In addition, adults 19 and older can imbibe in single malt whiskey and wine tasting schools, and try Lighthouse Brewing Company’s Highland Challenge Ale, brewed especially for the games.

Current and 6-time World Champion Drum Major Jason Paguio performs at Victoria Highland Games 2022.
Current and 6-time World Champion Drum Major Jason Paguio performs at Victoria Highland Games 2022.

Another exciting highlight will be the Canadian Invitational Drum Major Championship featuring six-time World Champion Drum Major Jason Paguio.

“I had the chance to see the World Drum Major Championship in Scotland in 2019, and they are definitely exciting to watch,” Maxwell says. “We really want to promote the drum major aspect at our games, and we’re excited to be able to feature an accomplished drum major like Jason. He is also the drum major for the 6 time World Champion Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, which will be competing over the Games weekend.”

“If you have ever wanted to experience a world-class Highland Games, the 159th Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival will definitely meet your expectations!”

Purchase your tickets early and save: Tickets are available at the Strathcona Hotel Liquor Store and Liquor Planet in Langford, or online through Eventbrite. Tickets are also available at the Games gates (cash only but ATMS are present), and children under 12 receive FREE admission.

About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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