Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Central Florida Scottish Highland Games - Winter Springs, FL

Each January the local Scottish community comes together and throws the annual Scottish Highland Games in Winter Springs.  I have seen these competitions on t.v. before and was really interested in checking it out.  The events were both Saturday and Sunday, and we ventured out that Sunday to see what it was all about.  The price was $10/per adult and $5/children.  I thought that was pretty steep for a festival but if you bought the two day tickets the prices were cheaper.  We bought a booklet that showed us the map and the scheduled events for the day.

We wondered around for awhile checking out the different areas.

First thing we did was check out the clan areas.  It was where the clans set up canopy's and explained out their heritage.  Many of the booths showed names that would have been part of their clan, so you can see which one you would belong to.  

During our tour through the clans we heard that one of the events was going to be happening so we headed over to the athletics field area.  

Here they were starting the Sheaf Toss - this is where an athlete uses a three-tined pitchfork, and tries to hurl a 16 pound burlap bag stuffed with straw over a horizontal bar raised high in the air.  Each competitor is given three opportunities to clear the bar.  After all the attempts are made, the bar is raised in one foot increments and goes until there is one winner.

After the competition was over we decided to check out the archery area.  They had archery set up for adults to do, a ballista and even archery for the kids.  

the ballista

After meandering around watching the people shoot we decided to walk back over to the other side and check out the sheep herding and the bands.  While on our way there they had a few people reliving the olden days to show how they lived and made their weapons.

Anyone interested in learning how to fence?  they will even let you gear up and try for yourself

I wasn't able to photograph the sheep herding as the crowds were rather large.  This was by far one of the most interesting of the events.  The handler was able to direct the dog herding the sheep only using hand singles and whistles.  It was truly incredible.

There were many bands that played during the day - everything from classic Celtic music to Irish rock.  The following band had a blast up on the stage.  The one guy played the bag pipes like no one I have ever seen.  They used a lot of whistles, flutes, mandolins and other instruments as well.

While we walked around checking out the numerous kilts and Scottish memorabilia area we noticed a large group of people in the corner.  Upon further investigation we found the axe throwing booth.  Watching the masses was pretty funny as only 3 of the 50 we watched was able to hit the target.

The loudspeaker announced that there was a tie between the Men's North and South teams and that a playoff was going to be necessary.  We wondered back over to the athletic fields to see what the tie-breaker game would be.

They choose the Clachneart or "Stone of Strength" game.  This event is very similar to shot put but they use a 16 lb rock instead of a steel ball.  The stone must be shot from the front of the shoulder using only one hand.  They are then judged by the longest throw.  The guy that won threw the rock 52 ft (no bounces are included)

Towards the end of the day they brought out the Deland Scottish marching band to play.  They are the only Scottish marching band in the Central Florida area.

and of course no day is complete without taking a picture with a man in a kilt.

FYI - they brew their own beer and it's DELICIOUS!!!! - make sure you bring money though - it was $5/beer or $25/pitcher

Want to check it out next year - you can find out about upcoming events, directions, more information - http://www.flascot.com/

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