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January 6
Piping at the Mansion
The McHenry Mansion
Modesto, CA

January 13
Robert Burns Supper
Mother Lode Scots

Jackson Rancheria
Jackson, CA 95642

January 27
Robert Burns Supper
St. Andrew's of Modesto

The Fruit Yard
Modesto, CA 95642

February 17-18
Queen Mary Scotsfest
Queen Mary
Long Beach, CA

February 22
Dublin Irish Dance
Gallo Center for the Arts
Modesto, CA

March 3-4
54th Phoenix Scottish Games
Steele Indian School Park
Phoenix, AZ

March 9-11
Sonora Celtic Faire
Mother Lode Fairgrounds
Sonora, CA

March 17
Murphy's Day Parade
Historic Downtown Murphys
Murphys, CA

March 24-25
Kern County 23rd annual
Scottish Games & Gathering

Kern County Fairgrounds
Bakersfield, CA

Tartan Day Scottish Faire

Ardenwood Historic Farm
Fremont, CA

April 28-29
Woodland Celtic Games & Festival
Yolo County Fairgrounds
Woodland, CA

Kirkin O' the Tartan
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Modesto, CA

May 19
Celtic Woman
Gallo Center for the Arts
Modesto, CA

May 26-27
Orange County Scottish Fest
Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, CA

June 9-10
Mother Lode Highland Games
Amador County Fairground
Plymouth, CA

June 23-24
San Diego Scottish Highland Games
Brengle Terrace Park
San Diego, CA

August 4-5
Monterey Scottish Games
Monterey County Fairgrounds
Monterey CA

Frolic in the Glen
Highland Games

Rohner Park
Fortuna, CA

September 1-2
Caledonian Club of San Francisco
152nd Annual Highland Games

Alameda County Fairgrounds
Pleasanton, CA

September 15
Fresno Highland Gathering & Games
Kearney Park
Fresno, CA

September 28-30
KVMR Celtic Festival
Nevada County Fairgrounds
Grass Valley, CA

September 29
Dixon Scottish Highland Games & Celtic Gathering
Dixon Fairgrounds
Dixon, CA

International Festival
Modesto Junior College
East Campus
Modesto, CA

October 6-7
27th Annual
Reno Celtic Celebration

Bartley Ranch Regional Park
Reno, NV

October 6
Big Trees Scottish Gathering & Highland Games
Roaring Camp Historic Railroad
Felton, CA

October 13-14
Ventura Seaside Highland Games
Ventura County Fairgrounds
Ventura, CA

Kirkin O' the Tartan
Trinity United Presbyterian Church
Reformation Sunday
Modesto, CA

Saint Andrew's Day Dinner


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Heavy Athletics

In the 11th century, King Malcolm III of Scotland summoned contestants to a foot race to the summit of Craig Choinnich. King Malcolm created this foot race in order to find the fastest runner in the land to be his royal messenger. Some have seen this event as the origin of today's modern Highland games.

During times of English occupation, the men of Scotland were forbidden to bear or train with arms. Scots continued to train for war; they simply did so with the implements of war replaced with the implements of the Highland games.

Photo by John Nelson

Caber Toss

The athlete balances a long tapered log vertically, holding the smaller end in their hands. They then run forward, attempting to toss it end over end, with the larger bend hitting the ground first. A perfect toss is achieved when the smaller end lands at a 12 o'clock position, relative to the direction of the run. If successful, the athlete is said to have turned the caber.

Photo by John Nelson

Putting the Stone

This event is similar to the modern-day shot put. A large stone (16–22 lb stone for men or 8–12 lb for women) is thrown with one hand. The stone rests cradled in the neck until the moment of release.

Photo by John Nelson

Scottish Hammer Throw

A round metal ball (weighing 16 or 22 lb for men or 12 or 16 lb for women) is attached to a 4 foot long handle. The hammer is spun around the athlete's head and thrown for distance.

Photo by John Nelson

Weight for Distance

There are two classes of this event; the light event (28 lb for men and 14 lb for women) and the heavy event (56 lb for men, 42 lb for masters men, and 28 lb for women). The metal weights have a handle attached either directly or by means of a chain. Only one hand is used. The longest throw wins.

Photo by John Nelson

Weight for Height

An attempt is made to toss a 56 pound weight over a high bar using only one hand. Each athlete is allowed three attempts at each height. Successful clearance of the height allows the athlete to advance into the next round at a greater height. The competition is determined by the highest successful toss with fewest misses being used to break tie scores.

Photo by John Nelson


Shinty is older than the recorded history of Scotland. The game was traditionally played through the winter months, with New Year's Day being the day when whole villages would gather together to play games featuring teams of up to several hundred a side, players often using any piece of wood with a hook as a caman. The ball was traditionally a round piece of wood or bone, sometimes called a cnapag, but soon developed into the worsted leather balls used today.

For information on how to participate in the Heavy Athletics
please contact Shannon Hamlyn Burton at: