Jacksonville, Fla. (Nov. 5, 2012) — Highland dancing, athletic feats and competitions, Scottish animals, bagpipe bands, musical performances, and an expansive children’s play area will be back at the Clay County Fairgrounds on Saturday, Feb. 23 as the Northeast Florida Scottish Games & Festival returns for its 18th consecutive year.
“The Highland Games offer families throughout northeast Florida one of the best values for a full day of fun and unique activities,” said Jim Overby, chairman of the festival board of directors. “About 25,000 are expected this year, with many visitors coming from surrounding states.”
Activities include bagpiping and drumming competitions, Highland dancing and the popular Tartan Parade, where Scottish descendants march with the symbol of their clan to open the festival. There are also sheep dog trials, where owners and their border collies demonstrate how the shepherds and dogs work together to herd sheep, along with a Highland breed dog and cat display and Highland livestock, which includes Clydesdale horses and Shetland ponies.
The festival also includes athletic action, where participants and teams engage in unique sports including hurling, the stone put and the hammer toss.
"These events have been going on for hundreds of years, so they offer a window for visitors to see how the Scottish people lived and played in those days," Overby said.
Musical groups will perform at the main stage throughout the day, featuring traditional and contemporary Gaelic and Celtic music groups. The band lineup currently includes Rathkeltair, Albannach and Ron Davis.
More than 30 vendors will also take part, selling Scottish clothing, jewelry and a wide selection of unique crafts and gifts. In addition, guests can sample regional food such as haggis, Scotch eggs, meat pies, Scottish pastries and other specialties – along with traditional fare like hotdogs and hamburgers.
Those who wish to explore their ancestry can do so by taking a walk down Clan Row, where various clans of Scottish origin will share their knowledge. Many participating clans offer assistance with genealogy research for people interested in finding out more about their ancestry. Because of the lack of a strong monarchy, clans were like the government and very important in old Scotland.
"People can discover more about the history of Scotland, the land and its culture, and even the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster,” Overby said. “For those who have never attended the festival before, it’s really is a special experience.”
Tickets are $12 per person in advance, which can be purchased at the website at www.neflgames.com, and $15 at the gate the day of the event. Children under 10 are admitted free. The festival takes place from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. – with additional entertainment planned until 10 p.m.
The Clay County Fairgrounds are located at 2497 State Road (State Hwy. 16 West) in Green Cove Springs, a few miles south of downtown Jacksonville. Parking is free. Parking for recreational vehicles is available on site by advance reservation.
For all information on the Northeast Florida Scottish Games & Festival and to purchase tickets, visit www.neflgames.com.
Media Contact: Ron Whittington, 904-563-0402, email@example.com