Monday, October 25, 2010

America's Scottish Highland Games

Bagpipes, the Loch Ness Monster, castles, and whisky instantly bring Scotland to mind. Many American and Canadian citizens can trace their roots back to Scotland and is why many celebrate this knowledge by organizing, volunteering at, and attending Highland games.

My husband and I have attended the New Hampshire Highland Games from the time they started back in 1975, even before we married. In the early 1980s, my husband began his long stint as volunteer. I stayed home with the boys until the youngest showed an interest in his Scottish lineage. We then also volunteered. Marching bands, wonderful food, and colorfully dressed kilts amid the spectacular fall foliage of the New Hampshire’s White Mountains makes for a memorable day.

The NH games has turned into an annual three day event, now visited by over 50,000 people. We volunteer as a family and, even though my husband and I moved to the south, we still travel to the NH games annually where we offer our service in the information tent. Our sons join us there to help us sell official programs, hand out maps and schedules of events, and sell raffle tickets, the proceeds of which fund scholarships.

This annual celebration has turned into a major undertaking and the Board of Directors and office staff work tirelessly to coordinate the many entertainment venues, clan representatives, venders of food and goods, and hundreds of volunteers, in order to bring the sights, sounds, and flavors of Scotland to New England.

Volunteering every hour of the three days is too much to ask of anyone, since there is so much to do and see, so my husband and I gather several hardy individuals to share the load. This affords everyone with time to either go watch the sheep dog trials, taste the shortbread, scones, bridies, meat pies, shop the venders, or listen to rock bands. No one wants to miss the athletes as they toss the caber, a tree length wooden pole or throw a heavy hammer long distances.

Many states, communities, and organizations host their own Highland games and Scottish festivals. They welcome everyone…a Scottish lineage or kilts are not required! If you enjoy harps, bagpipes, Highland dance, wonderful food and a sea of brightly colored wool (and is there anything more sexy than a man in a kilt?) please visit a Highland games or Scottish festival soon.

A native New Yorker, Nancy Lee Badger graduated college in northern New Hampshire where she raised a family. She now writes fulltime and lives with her husband in North Carolina. She loves everything Scottish. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Celtic Heart Romance Writers. She also writes contemporary and romantic suspense as Nancy Lennea.

DRAGON’S CURSE is Nancy’s historical paranormal, set in old Scotland. It is available from Whispers Publishing.
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  1. A wonderful splash of color in northern New Hampshire! Thanks for sharing, Nancy.

  2. Love the tartans on the girls. This must have been great fun.

  3. I just learned that there is a Scottish festival in Williamsburg, VA. I'm not too far away. Maybe I'll hit that next year. Thanks for all the great info, Nancy.

  4. I enjoyed the Highland Games I attended in Indiana and hope I can attend one in Scotland one day.

    Thanks for posting.