Games of the Highlands

"Where and whenPipe bands, Highland dancers, Scots athletic trials, a dog agility course and all-day Celtic music are on the program for the Highland Games at Greenbank on Saturday, Aug. 12 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Greenbank Farm. The competitions begin at 9 a.m. Massed bands will play at 12:30 p.m. and again at 4:30 p.m. after which the winners will be announced.Tickets are $7 adults, $5 children, under 4, free; call 341-1350 for more information. Or visit the Wb site: unmistakable notes of bagpipers (attired in similarly striking Scottish kilts) will turn the Greenbank Farm into the Scottish Highlands on Saturday, when the Highland Games return to Whidbey for a day of Celtic festivities.Pipe band and Highland dancing competitions will vie for attention with Scots athletic trials, a dog agility course and all-day Celtic music.It's the second annual Highland Games event on Whidbey, and last year it attracted more than 3,500 people to taste Scottish foods (no haggis, alas), listen to the massed bands and marvel at the athletic prowess of the games competitors. According to games organizer Mary Chapman of the Whidbey Island Celtic Society, the program includes solo piping and drumming competitions, Highland dancing competition, and, she's hoping, five or six pipe bands.Clan tents will transform the Greenbank Farm landscape, resplendent with the colors of the plaids. Heavy field athletics, like the caber toss and hammer throw, will go on all day, and so will dog agility trials over a set obstacle course. A Civil War re-enactment will take place, with opening ceremonies set for noon.Spinners and weavers will demonstrate their arts, shaggy Highland cows and Galloway belted cows will be on show and there will be Celtic entertainment throughout the day, with Gaelic singers, Irish step dancers, Skagit fiddle players and country dancers. Retail vendors will sell everything Celtic, from clan bookmarks to kilts and bagpipes, T-shirts and jewelry.There will be events for kids, Celtic crafts, and a beer garden for the older crowd. You can even rent a kilt, or buy a learn-to-play-the-bagpipes kit, said Maureen Lee, owner of The Tartan Thistle in Bayview and president of the Whidbey Island Celtic Society, which sponsored the Highland Games last year as well.This is an exciting time for Whidbey Island, Lee said. Interest in Celtic arts and heritage is at an all time high on the Island. Our organization is dedicated to fostering and enhancing Celtic arts on Whidbey and the rest of the Pacific Northwest. In addition to the Highland Games, the society hosts a Robert Burns Night and sponsors the Whidbey Island Pipe Band. "

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