The Highland Games of Louisiana is making a comeback this year in a new location — the Rural Life Museum on Essen Lane, said Tom Mungall, secretary and past president of the Caledonian Society, which, along with the St. Andrew Society, is sponsoring the Memorial Day weekend event.
Events will begin with an opening ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday, with events ongoing until 9 p.m., and will continue Sunday, Mungall said.
Admission to the Rural Life Museum includes the games on both days, he said. Activities will include music, bagpipe bands, Scottish Highland and country dancing performances and authentic Scottish food booths.
“This is a family-friendly event,” Mungall said. “There will be children’s activities and even children’s Highland games, so bring the whole family.”
The games had been ongoing for several years in Jackson, Mungall said, but paused when the economic downturn hit six years ago.
“We’ve been talking about bringing the games back for a few years now, and really, thanks to Joe Campbell (another member of the Caledonian Society), we were able to get it going. It’s a massive amount of effort, but well worth it,” Mungall said.
Mungall has been interested in his Scottish ancestry since he saw the 1960 British drama Tunes of Glory, about a Scottish Highland military regiment.
“It starred John Mills and Alec Guinness. And after I saw that, I was hooked,” he said. “I started doing research, and then got involved in the Caledonian Society. I’ve tried to instill the love of Scotland in my sons, and my eldest son was the youngest president of the Caledonian Society, so I think I’ve succeeded.”
For anyone who wants to investigate their own ancestry, there will also be Scottish genealogy booths at the games.
The games are all about sharing that love, and the unique culture that comes with it, he said. The Strongman games are always a favorite with the attendees, Mungall said, and those will be back, as well.
“Mike Beech, executive director of the Texas Celtic Athletic Association has signed on as the athletic director for our Games. He has lined up a great crew of Highland Games and Strongman athletes to compete,” according to a news release from the Caledonian Society.
“We will have all the traditional Scottish athletic games, including the sheaf toss, the caber toss, the hammer, the weight toss and the putting of the stone,” the release said.
Other activities will include a broadsword competition, tents for Scottish heritage clans and societies from the Baton Rouge and New Orleans Metro areas, vendor tents, artisan booths, a Parade of the Tartans with Massed Pipe Bands, sheep herding demonstrations and Celtic dog exhibit, blacksmithing, falconry, tartan weaving and a Sunday morning kirking (similar to a blessing) of the tartan and Memorial Day service.
For information, visit the games’ website, highland gamesoflouisiana.website.