Canmore Highland Games will continue
Thursday, Feb 16, 2017 06:00 am
Spring Creek has announced that Canmore’s Highland Games are back on and will once again take place on Labour Day weekend (Sept. 2-3, 2017).
In December, the Three Sister’s Scottish Festival Society (TSSFS), organizers of the Highland Games in Canmore in previous years, announced the games would be cancelled in 2017 as the group had dissolved due to loss of volunteer members.
However, after discussions with Highland Games organizers, Spring Creek decided to form a new non-profit society to ensure the games stay in Canmore.
“The Highland Games draws more than 5,000 visitors to Canmore a year and it celebrates the unique Scottish Heritage of the Town.” said Frank Kernick, president of Spring Creek. “We couldn’t stand the idea of losing such a special event, so we stepped up. We’ll have more details soon, but it will still be a community run event.
“We’re helping with several other tourism groups to kickstart a new organization as the Scottish Festival Society has done a great job over the years and deserves a break.”
Highland Games contests of strength and speed were first introduced in Scotland in 1040 by King Malcolm III, who was nicknamed “Canmore,” which translates as “big head” (ceann mo’r) in Scottish Gaelic.
King Malcolm III introduced the contests as a way of choosing the most able men for soldiers and royal messengers. Some have seen this apocryphal event to be the origin of today’s modern Highland Games.
Today the Highland Games are a unique mix of sports, culture and community. The games are comprised of field events, piping, drumming and Highland dancing competitions and heavy events, such as the tug-o-war, hammer throw and caber toss. The Saturday night starts off with the Taste of the Highlands, while Sunday has live Celtic entertainment all day at the Big Rock Festival Tent with vendors, food trucks and beer garden.
Finishing up the Highland Games on Sunday night is the Ceilidh, a celebration of music and dance, kitchen-party fashion. The Highland Games are an important event and have been held in Canmore for the last 26 years.
“It was a tough decision to dissolve TSSFS and cancel the Highland Games, but we just didn’t have the resources to commit the time and energy needed,” said Sandy Bunch, former president of TSSFS, “I’m very pleased Spring Creek has chosen to form a group to keep this tradition alive.”
Spring Creek is currently looking to provide support on the project and take a bit of pressure off volunteers. Spring Creek is also spearheading a new non-profit organization going to be called the Malcolm Scottish Society to take over the Canmore Highland Games.
“The Highland Games have become an integral part of our community identity over the years – and a well-loved event at the end of the summer,” said Mayor John Borrowman. “As well, the games continue to bring visitors here to enjoy our beautiful mountain town, and add to the sustainability of many small businesses.”
Spring Creek is building a $37 million hotel and conference centre which is expected to be complete by late 2017.