Hamilton Lakes, I-290 and Thorndale Avenue, Itasca
4-10 p.m. June 15 and 8 a.m.-9 p.m. June 16
Friday: $12, free kids 12 and under. Saturday: $20, $5 kids 3-12,
free 2 and under.
chicagoscots.org or (708) 447-5092
If watching grown men in kilts throw telephone poles across a
field is your idea of a good time, don't miss the 26th Annual
Scottish Festival & Highland Games in Itasca this June.
And if you're more interested in immersing yourself in that
country's culture, food, music and other heavy athletic traditions,
the fest has you covered on that, too.
The two-day festival features everything from a kids' area where
pint-sized athletes can throw their own version of a caber to sheep
herding to soccer and rugby tournaments. But when it comes to the
best part of the festival, nothing beats seeing the strongmen strut
"The most popular is the heavy athletics," says Gus Noble,
president of the Chicago Scots. The athletes compete in traditional
Scottish contests including the Caber Toss (flipping 20-foot,
140-pound tree trunks), the 22-pound Hammer Throw and the Clachnert
(throwing a 16-pound river stone). Children visiting the kids' area
can try out safe versions of the events, such as tossing a plastic
Noble says families also will enjoy the music, dance
competitions and performances that run throughout both days.
"We have some Celtic rock, which is for some of our younger,
more energetic visitors," Noble says. "We also have traditional
bagpipes and drums."
The closing ceremonies, which feature more than 1,000 bagpipers
and drums, are also a don't-miss, according to Noble.
"It's an awesome sight," Noble says. "They march onto the field
playing in unison and at the height of the parade you hear off in
the distance a lone bagpiper playing 'Amazing Grace' and then the
drums and bagpipers join it. It reminds you life is a wonderful
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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