Central New York Scottish Games & Celtic Festival
New York State has some of the highest concentrations of Irish-Americans in the country. Did you know it also boasts a passionate Scottish crowd?
“‘Scottish Games, never heard of it’…Oh my, are you in for a treat!” muses Central New York Scottish Games & Celtic Festival’s website. “At the games it is our turn to share with you some of that which makes Celtic-Americans proud of their past and present.”
The 70-year-old-plus event comprises many Scottish games elements, such as piping and drumming, Highland dance and athletics competitions, exhibitors and live entertainment, all the while showcasing activities that celebrate Irish culture and Celtic kinship.
Pipe Major Jack Heins loves participating in the festival with his City of Syracuse Highland Pipe Band. He says the awe-inspiring opening ceremonies include around 15 or more marching ensembles. “The Syracuse setting is beautiful because it’s like a self-made amphitheatre in there,” he says. “All the bands are down below and all the spectators are up on the Highland ground looking down. The bands all start playing the same song and they march in huge waves.”
Scottish heritage is also a key component of the all-day festival with representatives from 30 or so clans educating and even presenting historical re-enactments or interactive photo opportunities. Also this year, Ontario Celtic rock band the Glengarry Bhoys and local Syracuse act The Flyin Column are feature performers.
Wherever your interests lie, cheering on the Highland Games competitors, watching cattle or alternative-piping demonstrations, browsing the myriad of Celtic crafts and treats or letting loose at the Ceilidh, the Central New York festival has something for all curiosities.
“I want to make sure that everyone has as much fun as I have over the years growing up with my Scottish heritage,” says Heins. “Everybody should come see what’s going on in Central New York and the Scottish and Irish communities here!”