Embro Highland Games offers new attractions this year
John Bellia, 18, was one of many bagpipers playing at the annual Highland Games in Embro on Monday. CODI WILSON/Sentinel-Review
The Zorra Caledonian Society is busy finalizing the details on the 80th Embro Highland Games, to take place July 1 at the Embro Zorra Community Centre.
Gates open at 8 a.m. and there is a full line-up of family-friendly activities.
For those who are athletic, there are two, five and 10 km road races and free entry for every competitor running in a kilt. The first 100 runners to pre-register on- line at www.embrohighlandgames.ca or by mail receive a free T-shirt.
For guests wanting to take in some true Scottish culture, watch over 100 Highland dancers compete for medals. Returning this year, the Massed Highland Fling will take place at 12:20 p.m. The popular Massed Bands will take to the main field at 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. There are currently 10 pipe bands registered to compete, including one from Flint, Michigan. A wide variety of Scottish concessions will be on site as well as 10 Scottish clans will be represented.
The Ontario Heavy Events Championships (with the popular caber toss) will feature professional male and female athletes, from across the province, competing for top honours.
For those outdoor enthusiasts, there is the Highland and Ayrshire cattle display, the sheep dog demonstrations and dog agility shows. As well, a new event, Scottish Dogs on Parade, will debut at 9:30 a.m. A Tug of War demonstration will be held on the main field to round out the field events.
To celebrate Canada 150, Sir John A. MacDonald - aka a Thistle Theatre actor - will be greeting guests as they mill about the grounds. The Toronto Taiwanese Community Choir will be performing several choral numbers and a theatre skit.
There will be a historical display featuring family heirlooms that were brought to Canada by the ancestors of the locals called “Spurtles and Sporrans, Plaidies and Pipes: What the Scots Brought to Canada” which is proving interesting to the organizers as they try and identify what the items actually are. In the afternoon, Allison Lupton, Ian Bell and Dan MacDonald will be performing live Celtic and Canadian music. Jason Bellchamber from London will be explaining the meaning behind Celtic rings in a lecture-style format.
Back by popular demand are the Scottish crafts and outdoor games for the children of all ages which are always engaging and entertaining for the wee visitors.
New this year, the grounds will be entirely licensed by the LCBO, so guests can enjoy a beverage no matter what event captures their fancy. Parking is free and the gate (cash only) admission is $15 for adults, $10 for youth (13-18 years) and children 12 and under are admitted at no charge.
The Zorra Caledonian Society was founded in 1937 and is a community organization of volunteers dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of the Village of Embro and the Township of Zorra. Their signature event, the Embro Highland Games brings in over 3,000 people to the tiny village every Canada Day.
Follow on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. For information on the Zorra Caledonian Society visit www.embrohighlandgames.ca or contact the president, Helen Dowd, at 519-595-2245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.