SALADO — Celtic music, food and vendors will accompany the 51st annual Salado Scottish Clan Gathering and Highland Games this weekend.
Gates open at 9 a.m. and events will kick off at 10 a.m. for the Central Texas Area Museum’s annual festival.
This year, 12 bands will perform in three music tents, 19 vendors will offer items, from kilts to toys, and seven food vendors will provide Scottish, Irish and American fare. But the most popular events are the Scottish games.
“There’s a lot of skills and guys in kilts tossing things around,” said George Shott, president of the Central Texas Area Museum. “You can be across the event field and hear people cheering as a contestant finally gets to hit the ground and go forward.”
Participants compete in five events, including a caber toss, where participants throw a 200-pound pole and are scored on accuracy; hammer toss, similar to a discus event in track and field; and a shea or hay bale tossing event.
“The ring toss and the hammer toss are popular,” Shott said. “They throw that for distance, and they all get three chances.”
In recent years, versions of the games for children have been added. Last year, 27 children participated, Shott said.
In addition, piping and drumming competitions will be held, along with archery demonstrations and a 1869-1875 period camp and musket drill hosted by the sergeant major of the 42nd Highland Regiment.
“When you walk onto a site like this, there’s an air of excitement about it,” Shott said. “It just starts your soul racing.”
With a variety of events and activities, from living demonstrations of Celtic life in the fourth century to food and beer from Scotland, Ireland and England, residents of all ages can find something to enjoy at the games.
“We never seem to be at a loss for young kids and teenagers,” said Shott. “Nobody seems to get left out.”