Friday & Saturday, August 2nd & 3rd, 2019
Our 170th Annual Highland Games
Detroit’s Oldest Benevolent Society presents the Oldest Continuous Highland Games in North America! 170 Years!
The 170th Annual Highland Games presented by the St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit will be held on Saturday, August 3rd at Historic Greenmead in Livonia (Eight Mile and Newburgh) beginning at 8 a.m. Advanced tickets are $17.00 with children 12 & under free. Tickets at the gates are available for $22. A Ceilidh (Scottish Party, pronounced as kay-lee), an adult event, featuring rousing Scottish music bands will be held the night before (Friday, August 2nd) at Greenmead. Highland bagpipes, heavy athletics, Highland dancing, vendors and entertainment tents are all included in the price of admission on Saturday. Visit www.highlandgames.com for more information.
History of the Games
The St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit is proud to boast that its Games are the oldest continuous Highland Games in North America. The Society has documentation that shows the first Games being held in 1849. Over the years, the Highland Games have been held at Sugar Island, Belle Isle, Grosse Isle, Bob-Lo Island, University of Detroit stadium, Ford Field in Dearborn, Historic Fort Wayne, and the Eleanor & Edsel Ford House in Grosse Pointe. For the past 22 years the Games have called Historic Greenmead Park in Livonia “home”. The Games are put on entirely by volunteers. Chair Cathy Hasse of Orchard Lake is aided in her efforts by a group of almost thirty chairs who take over each phase of the Games. Over 400 volunteers are needed to work in the various areas on Games Day. Volunteers enjoy free admission to the Highland Games. Some of these volunteers start the Monday before the Games laying out the field and getting ready for the Saturday crowds. The score of volunteers are made up of Society members, their family and friends, and members of the community at large. All help is most appreciated. Again, all volunteers enjoy free admission to the Games. Forms to volunteer can be found on the website.
History of St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit
The St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit is the oldest benevolent organization in Michigan. Originally founded to help Scots new to the area assimilate into their new location the group also helped their fellow countrymen financially. Today the group is a 501(c) (3) organization that continually raises money for various charities. Money is given to Scottish and local charities. The group has a large scholarship program to promote the Scottish Arts helping students learn the art of bag piping, highland dance, drumming or Celtic harp. Each month the organization takes on a special cause. To name just a few including, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, C.O.T.S, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Forgotten Harvest, Gleaners, Habitat for Humanity Detroit & Oakland, St. Vincent De Paul and Toys for Tots.
In March of 2010 the St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit moved into a new home at 2363 Rochester Road, Troy, Michigan. The doors from the old, historic St. Andrews Hall in downtown Detroit, as well as the stained-glass transom above the doors, were installed in the new Kilgour Scottish Center in Troy. Centrally located for the membership that encompasses all of the greater Metropolitan Detroit area, the Kilgour Scottish Centre is a beautiful building that is the home of the Society’s benevolent efforts.
Festivities at Greenmead Begin 5 p.m. Friday, August 2nd with a Ceilidh – (kay-lee)
Traditionally, a Ceilidh was a gathering in a home in Scotland where friends got together to play music, sing, dance, eat and drink. So, our Ceilidh offers it all – except for gathering in a home – we gather in a tent and have a great time!! All of the above entertainment will be at the Ceilidh. We suggest that you look at the brochure or online for exact time of each performing band. Ceilidh tickets are available for $25 in advance, and a limited number of tickets will be available for $30 at the gate. To get advanced sale Ceilidh tickets go to www.highlandgames.com
Highland Games Day, Saturday, August 3rd Festivities Include:
New This Year, Kilted K Run/Walk Saturday August 3rd (see next page)
New this year is the Kilted K Run/Walk! All ages are welcome. Registration fee is $15 person. Registration is online only and ends 6pm on July 25th, 2019. Participation check-in is 9:30 a.m. at the Newburgh Rd. entrance gate. Event starts at 10 a.m. Participants receive Highland Games bib number, Kilted K t-shirt, and bottled water. Participants also receive an adult beverage coupon or young runner beverage coupon. Waiver of liability must be signed by/for all participants. Kilts encouraged, not mandatory! To register for the Kilted K, register online at:
Free Child Identification Service Available Saturday August 3rd
Livonia United Masonic Lodge#152 will be providing a child identification service for parents and grandparents with young children. It only takes a few minutes time and is at no cost. The parents walk away with a flash drive that contains the children’s fingerprints, and some info such as hair and eye color, height weight, and birthmarks. They also receive a recorded interview that shows the voice and facial patterns as they are asked questions about their school, friends, bike, where they like to play, favorite songs, etc. This can be invaluable in the case of a missing child. Stories are told every year about first hand experiences that this program has helped with. Look for the tent near the Wee Bairns
Saturday August 3rd there will be Bagpipe Competition
What would a Highland Games be without bagpipes? Those who attend the 170th Annual Highland Games won’t have to answer that question. There will be fifteen or more pipe bands. Members of these bands will be involved in individual competition, band competition and playing in the Mass Band Parade both at Welcoming and Closing ceremonies. Bands come from all over the Midwest as well as Canada to compete. Piping is judged on tone, tuning and expression and execution. The Mass Bands are the assembled bands all marching down the field together playing the same tune. It is a hair-raising sound and a treat for the eyes. Seeing all of those kilts marching down the field doing a counter march is a sight for all eyes – Scottish or not! The Society’s Pipe Major, David Martin of Livonia, has been with the band for many years. His band, The St. Andrew’s Society Pipe Band, competes and plays year-round.
Saturday August 3rd there will be Heavy Athletic Competition
One of the favorite areas of the Highland Games is the Heavy Athletic competition. These events thrill guests each year. The Caber Toss is the most spectacular and the biggest crowd pleaser. The caber (Gaelic for ‘tree’) weighs about one hundred pounds and can be as long as eighteen feet. The idea is to toss the caber so that it will land in a twelve o’clock position. The Hammer’s Throw, the Stone Put, and the Weight for Distance and the Weight for Height are other events. Competition is for amateurs in the morning hours of the Games and for Professionals in the afternoon. The judges look for strength, balance and agility in all of the events. Ages of the competitors generally range from 20 years to 40 years old. They come from Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and many other states. Kurt Pauli of South Lyon chairs this event. The St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit’s Games rank in the top five of all the Games held in the quality of the competitors.
Saturday August 3rd there will be Highland Dancing
Over 175 Highland dancers will be competing at the 170th Annual Highland Games in Livonia. Chair Jennifer Miller Combs of Highland keeps the dance competition running smoothly all day long. Ranging in ages from 4 to adults the dancers come from all over the United States and Canada. Each of the dances preformed have a great story behind it. The Seann Truibhas dance originated when after the Highland uprising in 1745, English rule forbid the wearing of the kilt. Scots now had to wear the “truibhas -trews – trousers”. The dance shows how the trews were happily kicked off when the law was repealed. The Sword Dance shows the dancers dancing around the swords that are strategically placed on the floor or shield without touching them. To be successful in this feat meant good luck in battle. The dance was done before and after the battle to celebrate victory.
Saturday August 3rd there will be Wee Bairns Area (Children’s Area)
The members of the St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit believe that ‘kids are our future’ and thus have expanded the Wee Bairns area of the Highland Games. Noted by some who travel to Highland Games around the country is the fact that our children’s area is second to none. Last year over 900 children enjoyed this part of the games. They could design a targe (shield), make a headdress, use a catapult (under supervision) and get involved in the reenactments where they could have fun and learn something at the same time. They had their own parade where they could share their targes and head pieces. Story tellers are also in the area involving children in history and suspense. Paula Lupi from Sterling Heights makes this all happen to the delight of the children and their parents.
Saturday August 3rd there will be Scottish Animals
Did you ever see a Highland Cow (Coo)? Well, now is your chance. These big very furry animals will be at the 170th Annual Highland Games in Livonia. Along with the coos will be the Westies, Gordon Setters and the Bearded Collies. Delighting crowds of all ages these animals, all native to Scotland are a big hit at the Games.
Saturday August 3rd there will be Living History Presentations
The St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit can boast that it hosts two of the greatest reenactment units around at its Highland Games. Grant’s Company of the 142nd Highlanders and the MacFarlane’s Living History Company help give color to the games showing visitors how life used to be.
The MacFarlane’s Company is a volunteer organization that sets out to educate the public about the rich history and culture of Scotland. This group raises money to support stewardship and preservation work by the National Trust for Scotland. Historical demonstrations let people get involved and have a wonderful educational experience. Society Bard, Elliot MacFarlane of Bowling Green, Ohio, chairs this part of the Highland Games.
Saturday August 3rd there will be a Tug O’ War Competition
Again, this year teams will compete at a Tug O’ War on the main field. Each team will enter the field in its own unique vehicle. There will be women’s teams as well as men’s teams. This crowd pleaser event offers a trophy to the winning team. Chair, Ron Cunningham of Hazel Park, assures that this event will be a big crowd pleaser. The men’s trophy is a loving cup that has been around St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit for over 100 years. It was first presented at the Games in 1914 by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department.
Saturday August 3rd there will be Entertainment Tents
The entertainment tents, too, offer something for everyone. Entertainment on Saturday is included in the price of a gate ticket.
Saturday August 3rd there will be Scotch Whisky Tastings
Back by popular demand is the Scotch Whisky Tasting event. This educational and fun presentation will need a special ticket (available online only). Visitors to this activity will have the opportunity to taste six different Scotch Whiskies and learn all about them. The teacher is directly from Scotland and can educate the audience in an atmosphere of fun and laughter. Tickets for the Scotch tasting are $30.00.
The Scotch Tasting is on Saturday, August 3, 2019. You must purchase a Games Entrance ticket or a Patron ticket with this ticket. This ticket can only be purchased online.
Ticket Information for the Games, Saturday August 3rd
General Admission Gate Advance Ticket: $17 / Ticket at Gate: $22
Children under 12 are free if accompanied by an adult.
Tickets are available at Greenmead or online www.highlandgames.com
Patron Tickets for the Games, Saturday, August 3rd
Become a PATRON OF THE GAMES, and for your generosity we offer you the comfort and convenience of the Patron’s Hospitality Tent, located on the Main Field, and Reserved Parking. Cold Beverages, assorted fruits and vegetables, cheeses, scones and shortbread and other Scottish hors d’ouevres will be served throughout the day at the Patron’s Hospitality Tent. An open bar will be available for Patron’s in the Patron’s Tent.
Patron Package Prices
Individual Patron: $60.00
+Each additional member of your family aged 13 to 17: $15.00
+Each additional member of your family aged 12 and under: Free