Photo by Les Stukenberg.
Ever heard of the Wicked Tinkers? Ever seen someone toss a tree trunk? Ever listened to a digeridoo?
If you haven’t yet, you need to.
Attend the Prescott Celtic Society’s 13th annual Highland Games at Watson Lake on Saturday and Sunday, May 13 and 14, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. One-day tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, seniors and veterans or active military; $5 for to attend both days.
“It’s a tradition for a lot of local folks,” said Society President Andy Hamilton.
This year, Hamilton has a special pitch.
As Sunday is Mother’s Day, Hamilton suggests this would be a perfect Mother’s Day gift – a day together with family enjoying some great Celtic music and dance, native food such as meat pies, fish and chips, and Irish barbeque – it’s actually Prescott’s own Montana BBQ ¬¬- and amazing feats of athletics. A particular favorite is likely the tossing of the caber – a Scottish competition with athletes in kilts tossing an upright, roughly trimmed tree trunk with the goal of it landing on its opposite end with the landing and distance all a factor in who becomes the winner.
Some of the other popular games that are part of Celtic heritage include the hammer toss, a stone toss that is similar to a shotput event whereby the male or female athlete throws the large stone and it is measured for height and distance. Then there is the sheaf toss, a game that requires the athletes to use a giant pitchfork to toss a 10 to 20-pound bundle of hay or straw across a high bar. For these games, there are categories of athletes who come from across the state and country to participate; the master’s group includes those over age 45.
Beyond the athletics, Hamilton said there will also be a solo bagpipe competition as well as a Highland dance competition, with the high-stepping antics of the dancers a sight to behold.
“There’s a lot of really good competition,” Hamilton noted of the athletes, musicians and dancers who often participate in a variety of similar events to score points needed for them to compete in national competition.
For shoppers, Hamilton said there will also be some 30 vendors selling all sorts of different types of merchandise, including some that is particular to those of Irish, Welsh and Scottish descent. For those who also want to look up their genealogical roots, there will be vendors to assist with those endeavors.
If that was not enough, the crowds that in the past have numbered over 4,500 guests will be entertained by the likes of various pipe bands, including a nationally renowned “tribal” four-man Celtic band from Los Angeles, California, the Wicked Tinkers. Celtic music fans are likely to be familiar with the band that performs on an assortment of Celtic instruments, and have a following that includes late night talk show host Craig Ferguson. Reviewers describe these four as true entertainers who are able to “jam” with the crowd, offering amusing anecdotes to accompany the music that will have all folks tapping their toes.
All the proceeds from the event benefit the all-volunteer non-profit organization that donates money to college scholarships and other civic events throughout the year.
“It’s fun for all,” Hamilton declared.