Travel Tuesday: Scottish Highland Games come to Southcentral Alaska
Alaskans are starting to settle in to what they hope will be another beautiful summer. While it's nice to experience the natural wonder in our own backyard, sometimes a little world culture is in order.
Enter the 38th annual Alaska Scottish Highland Games coming to the Alaska State Fairgrounds in Palmer this Saturday.
Jeni McDaniel, the coordinator for this year's Highland Games, stopped by Daybreak for this week's Travel Tuesday to discuss the event.
McDaniel says the United States is breaking down barriers when it comes to women competing in athletic events at Highland Games. Last year, 6 professional women athletes competed in Alaska for the first time.
"Because of that there's a lot other games throughout the country that started inviting pro women," McDaniel said proudly. "We're very excited to be welcoming them back to the games, along with bringing big boys back; the pro men are coming back, so we will be having our first men and women professional classes at our games this year."
In addition to men and women competing in professional classes for the first time, the games will also feature a ninth event, one that's new to Alaska.
"It's called the sheaf toss," explained McDaniel of the traditional Scottish sport. "Basically it's a bale of burlap sack, anywhere from 10-20 pounds, depending on the class that athlete throws, and they use a pitchfork to throw it in the air."
McDaniel says one of the professional women competing this year owns the world record in the sheaf toss: 38 feet, 4 inches high.
But the Scottish Highland Games feature something for everyone, according to McDaniel.
"There is stuff going on all day, from our piping and drumming, our athletics of course. We have a scotch tasting event, we have shortbread contests, we have children events, we have a Highland cow, we have birds of prey — there really is something for everyone out at the games, and you don't have to be Scottish to be there," McDaniels says.
The games are Saturday, June 29 from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. at the Alaska State Fairgrounds in Palmer. Tickets and more information can be found online.
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