Sam’s Scoop on the Wisconsin Highland Games
If you haven’t been to the Wisconsin Highland Games at the Waukesha County Expo Center, then you have definitely been missing out! The Wisconsin Highland Games is a weekend of affordable Celtic fun for the entire family, where kids 12 and under are free. From live music to learning more about the Celtic culture and everything in between, it’s a weekend of Celtic magic.
Last year, my family and I went and we had an absolute blast. We’ve had our calendars marked for this year’s games ever since. So, be sure to mark yours… Fri., Sept. 2 – Sun., Sept. 4, 2016.
There are so many reasons to go to the Wisconsin Highland Games, like the bagpipes playing, dancers prancing, dogs to play with (the Celtic canines and herding dogs), food and drink to be savored at St. Andrew’s pub tent, unbelievable shopping at the Celtic marketplace, the kid’s area, traditional Celtic music to hear, the list goes on. It’s a feast for your senses, you won’t know what to check out first!
Another great reason to go to the Wisconsin Highland Games is for… the games! It’s amazing to witness the competitors’ strength, agility and coordination. And you don’t have to just watch, during certain parts of the day, game-goers can try their hand at a Celtic competition or two.
Let the games begin!
Throwing sharp objects was totally up our alley, so my family and I took a try at hurling a battle axe and a dagger at the battle axe and knife throwing area. While we didn’t always hit the target we did have a ball doing what looks easy but really is not.
Then we happened upon the longbow area, something I’ve always wanted to try, (think Robin Hood). I finally got my chance as free archery lessons were offered all day Saturday and Sunday for aspiring archers of all ages. We stayed to watch the longbow competition and were blown away at the competitors’ precision and intensity.
Another super fun activity we took part in was single stick fencing.This game uses wooden sticks with guards instead of steel swords. We enjoyed some free instruction, there was no advance registration needed, we just showed up and the players showed us how it was done.
Then there were the activities we left to the professionals. Competitive athletes come to the Wisconsin Highland Games from around the world, including Olympians, national champions, world record holders and local amateurs. The games they play use their strength and power in the heavy athletics portion of the weekend. These opponents throw stones, heave weights, hammers and cabers (these look like large telephone poles) and compete in the sheaf toss (tossing a sack of hay with a pitchfork). We had so much fun watching them battle to win, it’s pretty crazy how strong these people are.
After all the activity we were famished so we hit the food tent and enjoyed some succulent corned beef sandwiches and tatties (potatoes). We also tried the fish and chips and shepherd’s pie. Everything was delicious! We wanted to try the authentic cuisine but if someone in your crew wants a burger or something else more American don’t worry, all your favorites are on hand, along with plenty of festival-type snacks, desserts, ice cream, lemonade and more.
The Wisconsin Highland Games is a perfect family-friendly activity to do in the Waukesha Pewaukee area. Kids 12 and under are free, there are activities for everyone and you will learn a thing or two about Celtic traditions. For more details, check out the website.
I’ll see you there!