Inside the Scottish Highland Games, Sarasota, Florida 2013

zeeBigBang spoke with Kathy Wilson, President of the Scottish Heritage Society of Sarasota, about the Highland Games, a mix of arts, culture, athletics and centuries of tradition. “Sarasota, Florida was settled by Scots which makes it the perfect location for the Highland Games,” says Wilson.

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 Bag Piper at the Sarasota Highland Games

Musicians, dancers and ax-throwers are part of the long tradition of the Highland Games. “Celtic music is at the centre of the Scottish Highland Games beginning with a four-hour concert to kick off the festival the night before,” says Wilson. Some of the bands include banjo greats, Scooter Muse/Jil Chambless duo and tribal drummers, Albannach.

Hard-fought dance competitions will draw Scottish country dancers and Irish dancers from many locales. If you would like to compete go to festival’s website for information on how to qualify and enter.

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The rich tradition of bag piping is alive and well at the Highland Games. The Grade III Pipe Band from Dunedin, Florida which competed in the 2012 World Championships in Glasgow will be featured at the Sarasota Highland Games along with over 20 other bands and pipers that will be performing and competing. “Pipe bands from communities, middle and high schools, and military school bands from southeast United States have been working hard to showcase their talent at this year’s Highland Games,” says Wilson.

Scotland has a rich tradition of festivals, culture and art.

Athletic competitions specific the Highland Games include such notables as the Open Stone Throw, Heavy Weight for Distance Throw, Caber Toss, Scottish Hammer Throw.  The Sarasota Highland Games will have well-trained competitors from Scotland, Germany, Canada and the United States.  These sports have their roots dating back to Scotland in the 1040s.

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Caber Toss

If you are a chef of traditional Scottish foods then you can’t miss a taste of the heritage foods at the festival. Fish and chips, Scottish meat pies, bridies, sausage rolls, cornish pasties, veggie pasties, bangers, haggis  are among the long list of authentic foods at the Games.  There will also be traditional beer, ales and whiskey on hand.

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Treasurer, Lionel Cohen says the Scottish Highland Games will take place at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds on February 2, 2013 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Wilson said, “One main goal of the Games is to keep Scottish Heritage alive by teaching ancient traditions and culture.”

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Treasurer, Lionel Cohen and President, Kathy Wilson

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