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The 163rd Highland Games

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A general view of a traditional Scottish outfit with bagpipe, Kilt, jacket and sporran. (Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

A general view of a traditional Scottish outfit with bagpipe, Kilt, jacket and sporran. (Credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

billmcallister b) Bill McAllister
Bill grew up in the metropolis that is Warren, Michigan. Bill al...
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By: Bill McAllister
One of my favorite local annual events is the Scottish Highland Games at Greenmead Historical Park in Livonia. This year’s games will be held August 3rd and 4th. http://www.highlandgames.com/index.html 

I’m also a featured guest/Tug-O-War referee/band introducer. Friday night is the Ceilidh (Kay-lee) which is a sort of party for adults only with food, beer, whiskey, bands and beer (I like beer). Saturday is filled with more food, more beer and the Highland games themselves. The games were used back in the day as a way for the Highland warriors to stay in shape between battles. Everyone has seen the caber tossing event, for you non-Scots it’s the one where the contestants flip a 20 ft. tall, 120 pound ‘telephone pole’ in the air with the goal of getting the caber to land in the 12 o’clock position for as long as possible.


There’s also a Tug-O-War event, the 56-pound Weight for Height in which contestants have to heave a 56-pound weight over a pole vault bar…oh yeah, with one hand. There’s also the 16-pound Hammer Throw and the 28-pound Weight for Distance. And say what you will about the bagpipes but I think it is cool as hell when you see a massed band of pipers and drummers marching up a field in full uniform. Makes me wish I was in
Braveheart! My grandparents were both from Scotland but actually met in 1928 on the Boblo Boat at the St. Andrews Highland Games which were held on Boblo Island at the time. Wearing a wool kilt in August is the least I can do to honor their memory.
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