All things Scottish at Highland Games in Courtenay

The Comox Valley Pipe Band wouldn
The Comox Valley Pipe Band wouldn't dream of missing the annual Highland Games at Lewis Park in Courtenay.
— image credit: Photo submitted

The 17th annual Highland Games happen May 19 at Lewis Park in Courtenay, a day full of Highland festivities.
Pipe and drum bands, Highland dancers and heavy events athletes are all getting ready to compete and entertain. Vendors are preparing their merchandise and menus. And the Westies are warming up for their walk.
The day kicks off with a pancake breakfast from 8 to 10.
Dancing begins with the youngest dancers at 9 a.m. Their excitement is infectious.
Throughout the morning, you’ll see many dances such as the Highland Fling and the Sword Dance. In the afternoon, the intermediate and premier level dancers take to the stage, including a number who compete internationally. During the day, there will be more than 200 dancers participating.
At the other end of the park, the individual piping and drumming competition also begins at 9. Musicians from B.C. and Alberta as well as Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii have registered.
Scattered around the north end of the park, you will see pipers and drummers meet with judges individually and in small groups. Competitors range from beginner to professional, children through adult.
The heavy games begin at 10:30. Sixteen competitors, men and women, will engage in such events as the hammer throw, putting the shot and the caber toss. And they do it while wearing their kilts! After watching the heavy events, you might want to stroll over to the beer gardens and lift a pint in honour of the athletes. The beer gardens open at 11 a.m.
The Westie Walk is becoming a very popular part of the games. Westies and their humans, along with other highland breeds gather at the airpark before walking over to Lewis Park to join the Games. They are met by pipers and dancers at the Sid Williams fountain at 1 p.m., and escorted down the hill to join the Games.
The pipe bands begin their competition at 1:50. This year, nine bands have registered to compete at different levels.
The Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, the Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Band and the Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band have all competed in, and won world championships.
The Ben Nevis Pipe Band will travel from Edmonton to join with bands from Kamloops, Powell River and the Comox Valley for the Games. All of the bands will unite for the massed bands at 4:30 — always an exhilarating finale to a wonderful day!
The Highland Games take place in all forms of weather — so come prepared! Bring along a chair if you wish, a healthy appetite, and your sense of adventure as you prepare to take in the 17th annual Comox Valley Highland Games.
Volunteers are needed to help with setup and takedown. If you are able to give a few hours of your time — you will be rewarded with a warm welcome. To volunteer, or for more information, call Claire at 250-339-2208.
• • •
8 a.m. – 10 a.m. Pancake breakfast – Knights of Columbus booth.
9 a.m. — Dancing begins.
9 a.m. — Individual piping and drumming begins.
9:30 a.m. — Heavy games registration.
10:30 a.m. — Heavy games begin.
11 a.m. — Beer garden opens.
1 p.m. — Westie Walk arrives in the park from the Sid Williams Theatre.
1:30 p.m. — Dancing begins.
1:50 p.m. — Pipe band competition begins.
4:30 p.m. — Massed bands.
— Comox Valley Highland Games

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