July 24, 2016

Partly cloudy

Ohio Scottish Games today in Wellington

WHEN: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today
WHERE: Lorain County Fairgrounds, 23000 Fairgrounds Road, Wellington
COST: Adult, $15; senior (60 and older), $10; junior (12 to 17), $8; children 11 and younger, free
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.ohioscottishgames.com

For the 37th year, the Lorain County Fairgrounds will host the Ohio Scottish Games and Celtic Festival of the Arts today in Wellington.

The event, hosted by the Scottish American Cultural Society of Ohio, highlights all things Scottish from the caber toss to Highland dancing.

“Everyone knows what St. Patty’s Day is like,” said Karen McGowan, a society board member. “Everyone pretends they are Irish, even if they are not, for the camaraderie and fun. I promise you, the Scots are even better than the Irish. The Scots are very, very friendly.

They know no strangers.”

Today’s activities include time-honored games such as the caber toss — visualize throwing a telephone pole end over end — and the hammer toss — imagine hurtling a weight attached to a chain through the air.

“There are dangerous games,” McGowan said.

At least, they are dangerous for the adults. The Scots take their games seriously and begin training their youngsters as toddlers. Of course, the little ones don’t start out with telephone poles.

“We use carpet or fabric tubes to teach them the proper way to toss,” McGowan said. “The object is for the pole to fall end over end, landing at noon. Points are deducted if it doesn’t turn, or if it lands at 1 o’clock.”

The games aren’t all serious, though.

There is food and entertainment, and vendors selling all things Scottish from T-shirts to tea sets.

And, of course, there is beer.

“You’ve got to have a beer tent if you’re going to have Scottish entertainment,” McGowan said.

Demonstrations take place throughout the day. Border dogs will herd sheep and ducks. Draft horses will parade through the fairgrounds.

McGowan is particularly looking forward to the Highland dancing, where her 15-year-old granddaughter will be competing.

“Highland dancing is nothing like Irish dance,” she said. “If you’ve seen Irish dance before, the dancers mostly move their feet, while keeping their arms still. It’s a little like tap dancing. Highland dancers wear shoes that are almost like ballet slippers. There is a lot more movement. The costumes have to be exact, even having the wrong type of braid can take off points. But it is just fabulous to watch.”

Athletes and dancers are not the only ones competing during the games. Musicians also will have a chance to show off their skills with fiddlers, drummers, and pipers all competing.

“It’s fun to walk from venue to venue to watch a little bit of each,” McGowan said. “You can pick and choose or see it all. There is a good overall view of all the different things.”

• 8 a.m. — Fairground gates open; athletic competitions begin; clans — Building 2
• 8:30 a.m. — Highland dance competitions begin; solo piping and drum competitions begin
• 9 a.m. — Fiddle competitions begin; harp competitions begin
• 9:30 a.m. — Gaelic Mod (song and language competition); field registration for kilted mile race
• 10 a.m. — Kilted mile race begins; Clydesdale and Highland cattle
• 10:30 a.m. — Scottish arts entertainment; country dancing with audience participation continues throughout day; continuous music entertainment
• 11 a.m. — Border collie demonstration
• 11:15 a.m. — Parade of the clan tartans
• 11:45 a.m. — Welcoming ceremonies and massed bands; caber toss following welcoming ceremonies
• Noon — Choreography dance competition
• 1 p.m. — Pipe band competition begins; Ohio open dance championship; fiddle workshop begins; harp workshop begins; children’s country dancing; children’s craft tent
• 2 p.m. — Border collie demonstration; children’s games begin
• 4 p.m. — Border collie demonstration
• 6 p.m. — Presentation of trophies, closing ceremonies and massed bands
*Events are subject to change