Family Fun at the Greater Moncton Highland Games & Scottish Festival!
We are THRILLED to be partnering with the Greater Moncton Highland Games & Scottish Festival to promote this year’s festivities. While this is a combination of paid and in-kind services, any opinions we share on Pickle Planet are ours alone. This post is meant to highlight the events Pickle Planet thinks will resonate most with our readers; be sure to check the Games website and Facebook page for full schedules and updates. (Don’t forget to follow them on Instagram, too!)
NOTE: This post was originally written for the 2019 Games, but the event is similar each year. Watch for updates in 2022, as the Moncton Highland Games hosts the Scottish Masters World Championships, featuring top athletes from around the world competing in events such as the sheaf toss, Braemar stone, and more!
- Meet a Highland Cow
Who doesn’t love a coo? You can pet the furry Highland cattle at the Games, as well as several other farm animals in the petting zoo. And be sure to visit the falcons, too!
- Watch Someone Throw a Tree Trunk
Okay, not exactly. But the caber toss is a highlight of the heavy events and involves the competitors lifting a 20-foot log in their hands and running with it before trying to flip it end over end. In a kilt. Yup.
The heavy events take place all day long, with athletes competing in junior, amateur, and women’s divisions. The Moncton Highland Games are hosting the inaugural Canadian Scottish Athletic Federation’s Lightweight (under 200 pounds) Championships this year, and will be welcoming dozens of competitors from around the world in 2021!
- Cheer on the Sheep
Or maybe you’ll cheer for the dogs! There will be sheep dogs showing off their herding skills on site, as well as Frisbee dogs performing tricks. The demonstrations are ongoing throughout the day. There’s also a petting zoo – so many animals to love & visit!
- Step Back in Time
Witness a sword fight worthy of Rob Roy and the Jacobites with Gallus Gael! See the 84th Regiment of Foot, a British regiment raised to defend Canada during the American Revolutionary War, camped near the shores of the Petitcodiac River! You’ll be transported back in time with this costumed re-enactors roaming the site!
- Understand How Clothes are Made
You can watch each step of the process, from seeing the sheep being sheared to the wool being spun and woven. What a fantastic way to help your family understand how much work goes into our clothing!
- Learn to Dance
The whole family can enjoy learning a few basic steps, with both Scottish Country Dancing and Step Dancing workshops being held (free with admission!). You can also learns some phrases in Gaelic, too!
- Practice Those Moves!
The Greater Moncton Highland Games & Scottish Festival is FILLED with music! There are massed pipe bands during the opening and closing ceremonies; this is when all of the pipe bands march together across the field – impressive! There is also a Ceilidh Tent with some of the best traditional New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI & Newfoundland talent, as well as Paul McKenna from Scotland. (Parents, you can also grab a pint if you’re so inclined!)
And don’t forget the FREE outdoor concerts being held Tuesday and Wednesday night, with fantastic pipe bands, highland dancers, singer Patricia Murray, and folk band Fundy Ceilidh. These run about an hour long and are a great chance to get the kids out and excited about the weekend!
- Eat Haggis
I know, I know – you can’t get the kids to eat broccoli, how are you going to convince them to try haggis?! You’d be surprised! While traditionally haggis was made with items that might sound a bit nasty (lots of organs and filler, ground up and shoved in a stomach), the modern haggis is more like a tasty lamb meatloaf. There’s a chance to try just a taste of it for free in the Greater Moncton Scottish Association’s tent, or you can go all out and try a haggis poutine at the food truck!
- Channel your inner Merida
The Brave heroine won’t be making an appearance this year, but there will be archers with bows at the ready for you to try. This is always a favourite stop for our littles! There are also fly casting and axe throwing demonstrations to try, too.
- Kid Favourites
As if all that awesomeness wasn’t enough, there will be several bouncy castles, a face painting booth, wagon rides around the Games site, and all kinds of goodies to purchase, including cupcakes, popcorn, ice cream, and more! The kids are sure to love everything about the Greater Moncton Highland Games!
Technically, the Greater Moncton Highland Games & Scottish Festival kicks off Sunday, June 9 and wraps up Saturday, June 15 (you can see the whole schedule here) – but it’s that final day that’s the one with ALL the action.
WHEN: Saturday, June 15
WHERE: Hal Betts Sportsplex (the ballfields on Assomption Boulevard)
HOW LONG: Gates open 8am to 8pm; I’d suggest either coming at 10am and staying past the opening ceremonies at noon, or coming for noon and staying till dinner
HOW MUCH: Children 10 and under are free; one adult admission at the Gate on Saturday is $15, students are $10, or a family pass for $35.
WORTH IT: Totally!
And a bonus tip: You can save money by purchasing advance tickets!
Advance adult passes for Saturday are $10, students $8, family $25 plus service fee. You can call 1-888-720-5600 to order yours via the City of Moncton’s ticketing service, or stop by the Moncton Coliseum during box office hours.