Saturday, June 24, 2017

Men in Skirts

Palmer, Alaska
Elk's Lodge

The reason we decided to extend our stay at the Elk's was so we could attend the 36th Annual Scottish Highland Games held in Palmer at the Alaska State Fair Grounds.

We've never attended an event like this before so we weren't sure what to expect.  

Harry, Carlena, Bill and I piled into Harry's truck and Marsha and Glenn followed us to the fairgrounds. 

There were the usual vendor displays and I believe somewhere on the TV ads, they said there were 65 of them.

I was surprised that so many people were dressed in Scottish attire. Even small children were dressed in Scottish attire.

There was dancing and music everywhere.  The audience was clapping to these cloggers.  They made me tired just watching them.  They didn't just do one dance, they did many back to back with no resting in between.

The opening ceremonies were great and sounded very different with the bagpipes playing the Star Spangled Banner.

Notice all the different plaids representing the different clans.  

I've never heard that many bagpipes playing at the same time.  

There was an entirely different kind of food vendors than what you find at most festivals.

These kids did not want to put their head in the guillotine.

Have you seen this man on the sports channel before?

It's a good thing Bill was wearing his Loosey Goosey shirt.  There were so many people at least you could find him in a crowd in that orange.

The games were for all ages.  Kids had an easier version of the adult ones.

Teams all had the same plaid kilts.  Some were completely dressed in Scottish attire while others may have omitted the socks, or their sgian dubh (Scottish dirk). 

The games were great.  Luckily there were bleachers to sit on because the games lasted a long time.

Unfortunately, there were other great things going on at the same time.  There was Scotch tasting, Tall Tales and Shortbread Competition to name a few.  

In one huge field there were four events going on at the same time.

The Caber Toss was by far the most difficult looking game.  

"The caber is a wooden pole, usually from 16 to 21 feet in length and from 100 to 160 pounds in weight.  The caber is stood on its light end.  The competitor must then lift the caber without any assistance, and balance it against his shoulder.  He is then allowed to run forward, stop, and throw.  The object is to turn the caber end over end, and have it fall straight away from the competitor.  The light end, being held, is thrown upwards.  The heavy end will hit the ground, and in a successful throw, the light end will travel in an arc up and over, and fall straight away from the thrower."  

Now if you think that description sounds complicated you should watch someone pick up a 16 foot pole weighing 100 pounds and just keeping upright while attempting to throw it in the air.  

There was the challenge stone which the current record is 13 feet 8 1/2 inches held by someone in Gilbert, AZ.

The WOB or weight over the bar was our second favorite event.  There's a 56 pound square weight with a handle.  You stand by a pole vault type apparatus with the bar behind you and swing this weight up and backwards over the bar.  The world record was broken today with a throw over 19 feet.  

There was also a salmon toss and farmers walk that we missed.  The Scottish hammers toss had a light and heavy event.  I noticed special shoes that had big long spikes that were used.  

Each event had professional and amateur events.  Men and women also had separate events.


This is a Scottish Highland Cow otherwise known as a Coo.

There were so many different kinds of food that we were having a hard time selecting one.  There were picnic tables, but it was difficult to find a place to sit.  

Guess what is across the street from the fairgrounds?  We decided to go to the Noisy Goose again and sit down to a meal and then return to the fairgrounds.  

When we returned we did find dessert.  This was gourmet ice cream that you selected either vanilla or chocolate dipping and then what you wanted on top of that.  This was chocolate with almonds.

This women was in the birds of prey exhibit.  There were other birds such owls and crows.  One type of owl is a snowbird that flies south for the winter.  The crow would take dollar bills as donations and put them in a container. 

The Games opened at 8 am and closing ceremonies were at 6 pm followed by the AnGry Brians Concert which concluded at 9 pm.  

There was a lot of walking and standing but as tired as we were, it was well worth it.   These old bodies just wouldn't make it until closing.

Thank you Glenn and Marsha for telling us about this event.

When we came back to the Elk's there was another event.

We're wearing a sweatshirt today and these people are in the lake.

I'm not sure what the name of the event was, but all these special needs people were being treated to jet ski rides, pontoon boat rides, canoe and kayak rides.  

Even someone in a wheelchair could enjoy this event. 

We sat outside at the picnic table with the maps and Milepost book and plotted a course for tomorrow.  Harry and Carlena are the greatest travel companions.  

Turtle Safely...........


  1. What a fun day you had again, we really enjoy taking in local festivals when we can.

    1. I'm sure we missed a lot of festivals just because we never heard about them.

  2. Finding unexpected things along the road is always great.

    1. We were so glad the other couple at the Elk's told us about it. They were planning to leave before the event and decided to stay longer too.

  3. This looks like it was a fun day! So glad you are enjoying yourself along the way with different things to do. Local festivals are always interesting. I love to hear bagpipes.

    1. I'm so glad we were told about it and stayed longer to go to it.

  4. Sounds like a GREAT day!!! I'll have to try and find the pic of me in my Scottish "colors" my grandmother made for me when I was 5 years old. Serious stuff that is!!!!

  5. Wow! Wow! Wow! We would love to go but perhaps we can find one a little closer. Bagpipes bring tears to my eyes every time.

    1. The music and dancing was awesome, but the actual games were better than the Olympics.


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