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Whidbey Island Highland Games feature throwers, pipers

John Lambert from Port Orchard tosses a 56-pound weight over a bar Saturday during the Whidbey Island Highland Games, which took place at the Greenbank Farm.  - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
John Lambert from Port Orchard tosses a 56-pound weight over a bar Saturday during the Whidbey Island Highland Games, which took place at the Greenbank Farm.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

For several hours Saturday, everybody visiting the Greenbank Farm turned a bit Scottish.

Caber tossing, bagpiping and dancing were some of the events that drew hundreds of people to the Whidbey Island Highland Games.

In its 14th year, the games showcase a variety of Celtic-themed athletic events including the caber toss, which features poles that range from 13 feet to 17 feet in length; the Scottish hammer; putting the stone, which weighs 17 pounds; and throwing weights for height and distance. The athletic games drew competitors from across the Puget Sound region, who compete through a circuit of Highland Games that take place every weekend throughout the summer and fall.

Jessica Larson, president of the Whidbey Island Celtic Society, said the Whidbey Island games aren’t the largest Scottish themed event in the region, but it’s been described as the one with the most heart.

Bagpipers and drummers also spent the day in competition. They also teamed up for massed performances. Groups that performed were the Clan Gordon Pipe Band, the Kenmore and District Pipe Band, the Northwest Junior Pipe Band and the Washington Scottish Pipe Band.

Larson estimated approximately 1,500 people came through the gates into the Highland Games.

Folks could watch highland dancers, weapons displays and the Cascade Comet Dogs. Larson also claimed success for the children’s activities, which included smaller scale throwing events to help spark their interest in the games and an appearance by the popular Balloon Fairy from Bellingham.

The money raised from the highland games benefits the Whidbey Island Celtic Society, which organizes the games as well as several educational activities throughout the year.

The Whidbey Island Highland Games took place on a busy weekend that included the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival, the North Whidbey Car Show and the Fidalgo Avenue Block Party and Pig Roast.

Larson said people were able to attend more than one of the events making for a fun two days.

“We’re always hoping people can make it the whole weekend,” Larson said.

Plans are underway for the game’s 15th anniversary, which is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 at the Greenbank Farm.

 

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