Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Celtic Heritage at the Skagit Valley Highland Games

Many of my ancestors were of Scottish descent, so the love of bagpipe bands must be in my blood.  I enjoy going to the numerous highland games that are held in the Pacific Northwest every summer.  It is by no means the largest, but one of my favorites is the Skagit Valley Highland Games.  The games are sponsored by the Celtic Arts Foundation and are held at Edgewater Park in Mount Vernon,WA on the 2nd full weekend in July.  One of the reasons I like this particular event is that they are one of the few clan gatherings that allows leashed dogs on the grounds.

Parking is free and there are several lots with a free shuttle from parking to the entrance gate.  Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the gate.   Pass though the colorful castle-like entrance to a world of Celtic traditions.

Skagit Valley Highland Games Entrance Gate

It goes without saying that there is a lot of plaid.

Plaids for sale at the Skagit Valley Highland Games

Both young and old demonstrating or competing in Scottish dancing.

Highland Dancing at the Skagit Valley Highland Games

One area features the athletic competition with traditional Scottish athletic "Heavy Events" throwing stones, hammers, cabers and sheafs.

Highland Games "Heavy Events" Competion

There are numerous vendors and crafts including woodworking and leather and traditional historical items like swords and shields.

Leather Crafts at the Skagit Valley Highland Games

Another tent had demonstrations by weavers and wool spinners.
Weavers and Spinners at the Skagit Valley Highland Games

There were 2 days of sheep dog herding competition.  Although my border collie, Hank has only tried sheep herding once, he looked on with great interest. (See Hank Tries Herding Sheep)  Just like my enjoyment of bagpipes, the interest in sheep herding must be in his blood.

Border Collie Herding Sheep - Skagit Valley Highland Games

Pony rides for the kids.

There was a variety of Scottish music featuring fiddles, harps and guitars.

Adult beverages like beer, wine and whiskey...

And of course, the bagpipes

Pipers practicing at the Skagit Valley Highland Games

and the pipe bands all marching together at the finale.

For anyone who would like to experience all three days of this colorful event, there are numerous lodging options in Mt. Vernon.

There is also free RV camping and parking area immediately adjacent to venue.  However, it does NOT have any amenities available like electrical, water or sewer hook-ups.  There are several RV Parks and Washington State Parks with overnight RV camping  nearby as well.

RV Parking and Camping
Where is Mount Vernon, WA?

Mount Vernon is located about 60 miles north of Seattle.

If you are looking for other Scottish Highland Games in the Pacific Northwest, the Celtics Arts Foundation website has a schedule.