We had a great day today! We were attending the Highland Games in Winter Springs, about an hour north of our resort. It was a 2 day event attracting people from all over the state. Saturday was the first day and it was very lucky with the weather – a perfect cloudless sunny day, temperatures around 25C.
First we stopped at Dennys for breakfast to fortify ourselves. Excellent value as ever.
Then we headed north to Winter Springs. The Highland Games are such a big deal, they run shuttle coaches from outer parking lots as well as having the fairground lots in use. We took the shuttle bus from a local school. As we approached the games site we saw people streaming in, many of them in tartan or in somr form of highland dress. There were the odd strange outfits…… a crusader knight in full armour with a cross of St. George caught my eye…..plus a couple of Spanish conquistadores….
It was a huge event spread over a large area with different arenas. One for sports – tossing the caber, tossing bales of straw and other weighted objects…. dancing and a pipe and drum band contest, one for parades of the clans and the pipe and drum band performances, a large musical venue for concerts, smaller stages, a clan village with tents for each one to help with ancestral research, crafts and items for purchase, food trucks – haggis was on sale, fish and chips, Scottish pies, shortbread….
We watched the pipe and drum bands perform in the arena which was pretty impressive. Quite rousing. Then the parade of the clans.
Then we walked around the craft village and the clan village and found our way to one of the smaller musical stages to watch some of the Celtic fusion bands play. I really enjoyed them.
At this point, Stuart’s brother, Steven, his wife, Pamela and their two sons, Scott and Ewan arrived and that was a lovely reunion with much hugs.
We watched some more music with them and then moved position to the sports arena where Steven set up a small tent for us for shade. We watched the caber tossing and the other strength events which I think were meant to simulate tossing a sheep or a boulder.
Finally we went over to the main musical stage and watched part of a modern Celtic band, heavy on drums perform. They were very exciting. It was very crowded down near the stage but we stayed back and got a good view with space around us.
We left about 430 and reversed our journey, getting home around 630. A great day out and a most impressive event. My first Highland Games and I would certainly go again.
We went out to dinner with Stuart’s family to Bahama Breeze restaurant which is fun and has a sort of rakish islands feel to it. I had coconut shrimp. Then we came back to our apartment and stayed up till the early hours chatting, the ladies tucking into margaritas and the gents, various whiskies. Stephen and Pamela were luckily staying here at the Marriott so that worked well.