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Highland Games in Grande Prairie, Alberta

From the Arctic Winter Games in the winter to the Highland Games in the summer, the region of Grande Prairie in northern Alberta certainly has its share of fun festivals to experience and celebrate different cultures.

Throwing the Hammer at the Highland Games (Photo by 'Mario Groleau Photographie' on Flickr.com)

Grand Prairie’s Highland Games

This year the Grande Prairie Highland Games (www.gphighlandgames.com) will take place June 13, 2010 at Macklin Field at 10117 93rd Street and include traditional Scottish Higames and activities like Throwing the Hammer, the Haggis Hurl, Highland Dancing, Sheepdog Trails, and more.

Throwing the Hammer: The standard weight of a hammerhead used for this game is either 16 lb or 22 lb.  A spherical metal weigh is attached to a wood or cane staff longer than 4’2″.  Each competitor has three attempts to swing the hammer as far as possible.

The Haggis Hurl:  The story says that once upon a time in a village named Auchnaclory in Sutherland, each day, the men would come down from the hills to the river.  The women would go up from the village to the other side of the river and would “hurl” their haggis lunches to their men on the other side of the river.  This became known as the “Auchnaclory Hurlings,” and today is a sport presided over by the World Haggis Hurling Association.  The haggis must weigh at least 1.5 lb, competitors must wash their hands, and the ladies must stand and throw the haggis atop of a barrel.

Highland Dancing at Highland Games. Photo by 'Mario Groleau Photographie' on Flickr.com

Sheepdog Trials: The sheepdog trails celebrates the Border Collie and its long history as working dog in Scottish culture, especially as the best sheep-herding dog in the world.  By whistling different commands, the collies will know in which way their masters want the sheep rounded-up.  At the games, the dogs go through a series of tests for their obedience, sense, and speed.

For more on visiting Grande Prairie or Alberta, go to: www.travelalberta.com.

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