Aztec Highland Games & Celtic Festival
In 2010, a group of friends sat round a kitchen table sharing a bottle of Jamesons, bonding over their Celtic heritage and passions. John Cater told the group he would love to host a Highland Games at Riverside Park in Aztec, New Mexico.
“So we actually got our poop in a group and proposed the idea to the City of Aztec for this two-day event,” says Jessica Polatty, now chair of the Aztec Highland Games & Celtic Festival. “The City of Aztec was gung-ho from the beginning. Other Highland Games events thought we were crazy to host a two-day event right out of the gate, but it has been successful every year.”
The mayor of Aztec, Sally Burbridge, was enthusiastic and involved from the beginning and continues to help out year after year. “This event offers the opportunity to experience the beautiful fall weather available in the Four Corners Region and is welcomed by our community because it offers an opportunity to experience yet another culture that helps to shape who we are,” she says.
The fourth annual Aztec Highland Games take place on October 4 and 5, 2014, and features the Four Corners’ largest Celtic Music festival, with the Wicked Tinkers headlining this year, pipe bands and dance, clans and vendors, sheep herding demos, tug-of-war, a golf tournament and more.
“This year we are also the proud host of the annual Four Corners Highland Games Regional Championships,” adds Polatty. “Aztec will host this huge event for this first year and for all the years to follow. This championship will include Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona competing for a state trophy through the best scores of their participating athletes.”
Polatty says she and the organizers are happy to host an event that celebrates a key component of the area’s cultural – Native American, European and Hispanic – make-up. “People who love music and dance, athletic competitions and good food and drink will definitely want to come to this event,” she adds. “That just about sums up Celtic culture in a nutshell!”