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8:28 PM Sat, Nov. 17th

Prescott Highland Games and Celtic Faire is this weekend at Watson Lake

Max Sadtler competes in the heavy hammer throw during the 2016 Highland Games at Watson Lake Park in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier, file)

Max Sadtler competes in the heavy hammer throw during the 2016 Highland Games at Watson Lake Park in Prescott. (Les Stukenberg/Courier, file)

This weekend, Watson Lake turns into Loch Watson as the Prescott Area Celtic Society puts on the 14th annual Prescott Highland Games and Celtic Faire.

Though the event is later in the year than it’s usually put on, that doesn’t mean all the usual fun is gone, said Prescott Area Celtic Society President Cheryl Hamilton. It’s got the shepherding dogs who herd geese, Scottish and Irish dancing, bagpipe competitions for bands and individuals, the children’s area, all kinds of vendors selling various Celtic-type things, food vendors, the athletic competitions, whiskey tasting and more, she said.

A couple of new aspects this year are the Loch Ness Monster’s cousin Ian MacNessie who will be roaming around Loch Watson and the Calling of the Clans Friday night, Sept. 14, from 5:30 to 9 p.m., a party anyone can come to, Hamilton said.

“It’s to give people a little kind of taste of the things that we have and to get them to come back,” she said. “They’re not going to really see any of the athletic events, but they’ll get to meet some of the athletes.”

The rest of the event is Saturday, Sept. 15, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Along with meat pies and fish and chips, Montana BBQ will be one of the food vendors. The whiskey tasting is a sort of miniature class and the purchase of a $10-$15 glass allows for the tasting of different blends of Scotch, Hamilton said. Tastings are at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday. It’s open to people ages 21 and over.

One-day tickets for the Prescott Highland Games and Celtic Faire are $18 for adults, $15 for students, seniors and military and free for children under 5. A two-day pass is $30 for adults and $25 for students, seniors and military. Tickets are available online at www.prescottareacelticsociety.com or at the gate.

With all that’s going on, what the organization works to do is have a little bit of something that everyone can go watch or participate in, even the athletics, Hamilton said. One doesn’t necessarily have to be Scottish to participate, and if all they have is a kilt, they can sign up if there’s room, she said.

Athletic events include the caber toss, hammer throw, weight for height and weight for distance, said previous Prescott Area Celtic Society President Andrew Hamilton. Athletics are both days, women and some men are Saturday and the rest of the men are on Sunday.

Entertainment is set all day long Saturday and Sunday with performances by California Celts, the Sacred Heart Irish Step Dancers, Knockabouts, pipe band performances, the southwest Skye Pipe Band and massed bands performances. Both days have a Highland Pipes and Drums and Highland Dance competitions, too.

The event is also pet friendly, Andrew Hamilton said.

“It’s pretty much fun for the whole family,” he said.

One of the biggest challenges to putting on this year’s event has been getting enough volunteers, Cheryl Hamilton said. The Prescott Area Celtic Society has a core group of 20 members, some of whom have yet to see the entire games because of how much of their time is needed, she said.

“We welcome volunteers to come out to the park,” Cheryl Hamilton said. “People can come out the day of the games and say ‘hey, I’d like to volunteer’ and we will find stuff for them to do. Nothing is difficult, nothing is dangerous.”

Again, Scottish or Celtic heritage is not needed; anyone of any nationality can come join the group, she said. In fact, Scottish and Celtic people historically would make it so people adopted in the clan were just as much a part of it as people who were born into the clan. It doesn’t matter what nationality you are, once you get out to Loch Watson, you’re Scottish, Cheryl Hamilton said.

For more information about the Prescott Highland Games and Celtic Faire, a full schedule of athletic events and a full schedule of entertainment, visit www.prescottareacelticsociety.com.

Watson Lake is located at 3101 Watson Lake Park Road.