It’s not only the heat that’s building in Glengarry, but it’s also the anticipation of the return to the Glengarry Highland Games. As the last notes of the massed bands drifted away in 2019 no one could ever have imagined that it would be three years before we’d hear that sound again.
In two weeks time, on July 29 and 30, the Kenyon Agricultural Fairgrounds in Maxville will again come alive with the sound of the pipes as thousands of fans and competitors join to celebrate a grand Glengarry reunion and one of the largest celtic events in North America.
The Games Committee is pulling out all the stops to create a marvelous event that will help erase the time we spent away. Pipe bands will return for competitions and performances, heavyweights are out practicing to get back in form, fiddlers are rosining their bows while highland dancers are practicing their steps. The excitement is building as plans are made across the region to welcome home family and friends as well as the thousands of visitors who flood the area’s hotels and inns. Kilts are being dragged out and aired, the famous Games t-shirt is in the laundry bag, and calendars are being circled to make sure nothing gets on those two days except The Games.
GAMES HONOURS ITS OWN
The 2022 Games Guests of Honour, Jean (MacInnes) and Jim Campbell, look forward to finally welcoming everyone to the Games this year. Their legacy with the Games is long and noted. Jean’s father was Peter MacInnes, a co-founder of the Games in 1948, and Jean was a highland dancer at the first Games while Jim was a volunteer. Both have continued to not only attend every Games since but also have worked as committee members and chairs over those many decades.
Jim has been Chair of the Concessions Committee and Jean was Chair of the Dance Committee. In 1982 and ‘83, Jim was Games President. For the 50th Anniversary of the Games, there was no more natural selection as President than the daughter of the first Games President, Peter MacInnes. Jean was President in 1996 and ‘97, only the second woman to lead the Games.
Games President Eric Metcalfe states, “It is very hard not to bring up the names of Jim and Jean Campbell when you think of the Glengarry Highland Games history. The Glengarry Highland Games salute Jean (MacInnes) and Jim Campbell for their years of dedication and their obvious and continuing love for this premier Scottish event.”
FRIDAY TATTOO MAKES MEMORIES
Thousands of Games fans think the Friday night Tattoo is the high point of the Games. This two hour extravaganza presents music, dance and pageantry all staged on the infield under a summer night’s sky. To start off the Tattoo, our own Glengarry Massed Fiddlers take to the stage after a three year hiatus that will let everyone know that the Games are back and the show is about to begin. What a delight it will be to see the MacCulloch Dancers once more come onto the field and perform their world-renowned routine. The applause will continue throughout the evening with pipe bands and military bands marching onto the grounds and Hadrian’s Wall to keep the magic flowing. Beòlach from Cape Breton will provide the headliner entertainment for the Tattoo with exciting arrangements of traditional Cape Breton, Scottish and Irish tunes for fiddle, bagpipes, piano and guitar. Their energy and the natural easy wit and banter among the musicians have delighted audiences throughout the world. Last October, they were one of three groups representing Canada at the World Expo in Dubai. Their three albums have earned nominations for East Coast Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards, and Nova Scotia Music Awards, of which they took home five and a nomination for a JUNO!
The night wraps up with music and fireworks and memories that will last long after the Games are over. If you don’t have a seat in the grandstands, bring your chair and find a comfortable spot on the infield.
THE GAMES OFFERS WALL-TO-WALL ENTERTAINMENT
To many people the Glengarry Highland Games means the sound of the pipes and the sight of the massed bands marching across the infield, but to many others the Games is the greatest opportunity to hear all of your favourite celtic bands in one place at one time. After a long wait, everyone is ready for a real ceilidh and this year’s entertainment lineup at the Games will be sure to please everyone. All of the favourite Glengarry bands will be there including the Brigadoons, Hadrian’s Wall, Stewart’s Glen, Hughie McDonell and more. Starting at 1 pm on Friday and finishing at 10 pm on Saturday, the celtic music is another top reason people flock to the Games.
On July 29, the Games will open the gates ready to start the celebrations. A hundred thousand welcomes multiplied by three years apart makes it three hundred thousand welcomes to everyone. Trì ceud mile fàilte. See you at the Games!
Check out the Games website and Facebook pages for all the details on this year’s Games. Also online are ticket sales and registration for the many events. Glengarryhighlandgames.com.