May 4, 2012
The month of May sees a certain liveliness returning to the city of Victoria. Momentum builds as the summer season approaches, locals emerge into the spring sunlight, and tourists begin to once again explore our streets. I'm pleased to announce the first major outdoor event of the year: the Victoria Highland Games, coming to Topaz Park Saturday, May 19th, and Sunday, May 20th.
What are the Highland Games exactly, you ask? Great question. The Highland Games are an annual event held here in Victoria, in other cities across North America, and across the globe! The purpose: to celebrate Scottish and Celtic culture, especially that of the Scottish Highlands. This means kilts, bagpipes, drumming, dancing, sheepdogs (the animals, not the band), throwing things that are really heavy, eating haggis, and drinking beer. For the record, the largest Highland Games in the world does not take place in Scotland, but rather in Pleasanton, California, where it has been hosted by the Caledonia Club since 1865.
The Victoria Highland Game tradition began in 1938, and saw 2000 spectators and competitors take part at MacDonald Park. Over the years, the games have been held at several venues, most recently at Topaz Park since 2008. The Highland Games Association prides itself on the multi-cultural flavour of the games, as illustrated by the website's tales of Yugoslavian born John 'Mc'Pavelich, and Saskatoon dancer Betty Chan.
This year, I was pleased to get Executive House involved as an accommodation partner of the games. Organizer and President Jim Maxwell is a gentleman and a scholar, and has made the partnership process easy and enjoyable. We're offering discounted room rates for Highland Games attendees, check the games' Sponsor Hotels page for the full deets. Bart's will be giving away five pairs of one-day admission tickets for the next three 'Freebie Fridays', so make sure to come down for 5 PM to celebrate the weekend and your chance to win free entry to the games! The Cafe will also be offering a traditional Scottish breakfast during the week of the games, so come feed yourself traditionally. Don't worry, it's not a haggis omelette (I promise!)
In summary, the Highland Games is a great event steeped in tradition, and a worthy precursor to all the great events our city will play host to this summer. Do yourself a favour and head to Topaz Park over May Long Weekend, and raise a glass of Lighthouse Brewing's Highland Challenge Scottish Ale in tribute to our city's Celtic history.
Stay Classy Executives,