Cobourg Highland Games

storyThe quiet community of Cobourg, Ontario is going to get a whole lot louder this weekend, as the township hosts its annual Highland Games. Event treasurer Pauline Davidson gives us the details.

What are your own roots?
I was born in Port Hope Ontario, but my father is from Belfast, Ireland and my mother is from Montreal, Quebec.

When and why did you get involved with this event?
I became involved with the Cobourg Highland Games in 2000 when the previous committee decided to cancel the Cobourg Highland Games, because it had been rained out the previous year and they were having trouble getting volunteers and sponsors. A new committee was formed that wanted to continue the Games and we have been able to continue the games and celebrate our 50th Anniversary last year.

Why is it an important event for the community there?
Being on the shores of Lake Ontario, Cobourg was a stopping point for many immigrants that came from Ireland, Scotland and England and so we feel it is important to demonstrate the many Scottish and Irish customs, so we don’t forget about our heritage.

Who attends the event?
Anyone that enjoys the sounds of the Pipe bands, watching the Highland Dancers, or seeing the Caber tossed by the many athletes that come to compete.  Also anyone that is curious about what happens at a Highland Games, and that have not been to one before.

What can they expect this year?
We are expecting 25 Pipe Bands as well as 150 to 200 Highland Dancers coming to compete.  The Heavy Events will be on the Beach with Kevin Fast, the Guinness World Record Holder of many feats of strength. Our Friday night Ceilidh will feature The Ballagh Bunch – a family that performs step dancing and fiddling. Our Saturday night entertainment will include Celtic rock band the Mudmen . New in our refreshment tent will be a Whisky bar where various whiskies will be offered by Bowmore Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky and a representative to answer all your questions about it.

Will you remain involved with the event in the years ahead?
Yes, I enjoy being a part of the Cobourg Highland Games and I enjoy the sounds of the pipe bands each year, the young Highland Dancers are always fun to watch as well.

How else are you involved with the Celtic community there?
The Cobourg Highland Games has many fundraising events during the year to help support the Games, like our Piping & Drumming Workshop on May 3, as well as our Concert with the 78th Fraser Highlanders on May 3 and our Golf Tournament on June 7th.

Is enough being done to preserve and promote Celtic culture generally?
We are finding it difficult to apply for any Government Grants to help support the Highland Games because we hold competitions. We are also finding it more and more difficult to get sponsorship to help cover the costs of the Highland Games, as many people do not realize the costs involved.

What can we be doing better?
I really can’t think of anything, I love your Facebook page, and share it with ours quite often. It is a great magazine!