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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Highland Games returns to celebrate Scottish and Celtic culture

by Sylene Argent

After a two-year hiatus, due to the pandemic, the Kingsville Highland Games returned to Lakeside Park on Saturday, offering plenty of opportunity to celebrate Scottish and Celtic culture.

  The day provided an opportunity for dancers and bands to compete on interactive stages, for participants to show off their strength and accuracy in the heavy events – such as the light hammer and caber toss and in the tug of war events, watch sheep herding demonstrations, participate in the 5M Kilt Walk/Run in support of the Jack Miner Bird Foundation and the Kingsville Military Museum, and enjoy live music entertainment.

  One of the top attractions of the day included the Mayors’ Haggis Hurl, which Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos won when the event was first held in 2019. His reign as champion came to an end, however, on Saturday, as Amherstburg Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche’s toss proved to be the best in 2022.

  Looking around Lakeside Park, with plenty of activities on the go and vendors onsite selling food, drink, and unique wares, Santos said it was superb to witness the desire of the community. Throughout the pandemic, the Highland Games Committee worked to plan this event, and he was glad to see it take place.

  “I can’t say enough about the Committee and its passion,” Santos said, noting members on this committee come from all over the region to plan this special event.

  “We felt disappointment when it was postponed,” Santos said of the past two-years, noting the community was ready to celebrate the event’s return. “We are thrilled to have it return.”

  He was excited to see the support the community brought to the event.

  “I feel complete pride, seeing the community all come together to create a stronger sense of community,” Santos said.

  With Santos moving on to become the CAO for the Township of Adjala-Tosorontio, he will miss that spirit.

  Doug Plumb, Chairperson of the Highland Games Committee, was also pleased with the support of the event. In the next few weeks, Committee members will gather to share notes on what went well and what can be improved upon in the future.

  “We had a lot of the community come out to support the Highland Games. Everyone had a great time,” Plumb said. “It was successful.”

  He noted there were not as many pipe bands involved with this year’s event, as he said American-based organizations were hesitant to cross the border with COVID rules still in place. Others could not come out because of COVID or because they have not had the chance to gather to practice over the course of the pandemic.

  He hopes to build on the success of the 2022 event.

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