The Highland Games

NEW at the Festival!

This year we welcome the first Muskegon Highland Games to the Michigan Irish Music Festival! Some say versions of the Highland Games have been within the Celtic/Gaelic Community before the dawn of Christianity. The gatherings were said to be “war games” designed to choose the best warriors in each family “clan”. The 1st Games in Scotland organized & designated as a sporting event in the 11th century, was during the reign of King Malcom III (1058-1093). Games were held in Scotland until the Battle of Culloden in 1746. After a defeat by the English, the Act of Proscription was in place that banned playing of the bagpipe, wearing of the kilt, gathering of the people, & the carrying of arms; under the penalty of deportation or death. After the repeal of the Proscription, in the 18th Century, Highland Societies began forming & in 1781 the 1st society “Gathering” was held at Falkirk & this led to the Gathering of the Clans & the Highland Games as we know them today. By the end of the 1820’s Games were once again being held throughout Scotland.

In the U. S. the 1st Highland Games were organized by the Highland Society of New York in the mid 1800s. Today's competitors, both men and women, compete in the stone throw, sheaf toss, 16# hammer toss, weight for height & distance, & the ever popular CABER TOSS (a log approx.. 18’– 20’ long). Stop by & cheer on these athletes & share the spirit of good old competition. Perhaps, you may even see a kilted athlete wearing your family tartan & share the support of tradition.


New! The Highland Games Schedule

Friday        The Highland Games
7:00 pm Celtic Highland Games Demonstration
Saturday    The Highland Games
10:00 am Athlete Arrival
11:30 pm Intro & Open Stone Shot Putz
12:15 pm Light Weight for Distance Toss
1:00 pm 16# Hammer Toss
2:30 pm Caber Toss
3:30 pm Sheaf Toss
4:30 pm 56# & 42# Weights over Bar