. The 135th Sacramento Scottish Highlands Games and Festival : Budget Travel Adventures

The 135th Sacramento Scottish Highlands Games and Festival

Sacramento Scottish Highlands Games Festival

Sacramento Scottish Highlands Games Festival

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to enjoy the Scottish Highlands Games and Festival in Sacramento.  While I’ve never been to Scotland, it was a fantastic experience.  Because of my experience with bagpipes, kilts, and the Scottish Highlands games, there are many reasons why this Sacramento Scottish festival won’t be my last.

No matter where you travel, connecting with locals is a great part of the experience of traveling.  You don’t have to go far to meet new people and make a festival, summer vacation, or backpacking trip memorable.  Even in the Scottish games and festival in Sacramento gave me an opportunity to do that as I met the Chief of the Caledonian Club of Sacramento, Randy Russell, as well as guys like Larry Brock, Daniel McKim, Chad Gustin, and others (more on them next week).

However, here are a few highlights from the Sacramento Scottish Highlands Games and Festival.

  • This is a big deal in Sacramento.  Nearly 70 clans participated with over 25,000 people attending (not official numbers – it may have been much more than that).
  • There may be more highly attended festivals but not many that are older.  It’s the third oldest Scottish festival in the United States.
  • The Scottish games have professional athletes who compete all over North America and the world.
  • The events in the Scottish games are fascinating.  And despite what anyone thinks, they are not easy!
  • There are officially 147 clans in Scotland with 92 of those still in existence today.  The sound of a surname is often more important than its spelling.
  • You can get some decent fish ‘n chips in the Sacramento area.  It’s not recommended to eat this every day!
  • You can research your genealogy, enjoy Scottish music, learn more about Scottish clans and history, and go to Scotland for free! (OK, that last part I made up but I will be giving away 10 free tickets to next year’s Scottish Games and Festival in Sacramento – close enough!)

OK enough with the facts and history.  Here are some photos of the 135th Scottish Highlands Games & Festival in Sacramento!

Sacramento Scottish Highlands Games and Festival photos

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  1. Lisa says:

    Great parade photos,I love their costumes! I needed you with me at the Sistine Chapel. How did you get that great photo of the display that said no photos?

    • Jeremy Branham says:

      Ha! Thanks Lisa! I actually never noticed it said no photos! It was early in the morning and not many people around so I guess no one saw me!

  2. Mark Wiens says:

    Looks like a great time Jeremy! I especially drooled over that shot of the fish n chips – looks like the perfect crunchiness!

    • Jeremy Branham says:

      Thanks Mark! The fish was actually VERY good and filling. I am not used to that much grease so it stuck with me the rest of the day. But it sure tasted good!

  3. I was going to make some comment about kilts, but I think that’s a bit cliche, No?

    • Jeremy Branham says:

      Not at all. Kilts are not something we see often in the US. I think that is part of the draw. A number of females on here have commented how sexy they think kilts are. So go buy one! :) What’s your comment?

  4. Sacramento is where many Scots settled, then? Interesting how European emigrées keep to their traditions, even generations later.

    • Jeremy Branham says:

      I am not sure if it is all Europeans but for Scots the clan matters. I think the Scottish heritage and culture is very unique and proud so it is easy for them to stand out. After all, how many European men wear skirts? :)

      As for why there are so many here, have no idea. While this was the 135th festival, the one in the San Francisco area this year will be the 146th! Very long tradition out here in California!

  5. Excellent fun for all!! How many European men wear skirts – mmmm there’s an interesting one?? Jean Paul Gaultier?

  6. Well, you’ve taught us something there. We had no idea there was such a strong Scottish presence in Sacramento. It’s made for an eye-catching title for your post! :) You’re right; the fish and chips look gorgeous!
    Julia

    • Jeremy Branham says:

      The fish and chips were very tasty and it was a surprise to me to see how much Scottish influence is here in Sacramento!

  7. jade says:

    Awesome photos!! We were actors in one of these in Florida and had so much fun!

    • Jeremy Branham says:

      So what did you act in – a play or a parade? I don’t think there were any actors here in this one but I could be wrong.

  8. MusiCelt says:

    It appears you missed my favorite part of the Sac Valley Scottish Games: The Scottish Fiddlers. A small group of local fiddlers rehearse traditional tunes all year, then allow others to join them for “fiddle jams” at the games. The outstanding professional Scottish fiddler John Taylor usually joins them on Saturday. They play five times over the weekend, alternating hour-long sessions with a very good group of Celtic harp players.

    So, whether you’re attracted to the heavy athletics, dancing, historic re-enactments, genealogy, animals, food, merchandise, whisky, or MUSIC (Scottish fiddling, pipes and drums, harps, folk, or rock), there’s a LOT of fun to be had, all weekend in Woodland. Hope to see you next year, the last full weekend in April!

    • Jeremy Branham says:

      I have to admit that I didn’t see the Scottish fiddlers. There was so much going on that day that I didn’t get to see everything. No wonder it lasts all weekend! I would have liked to hear the lectures as well. Next year, I will try to catch more of the music. Most of my time was spent hanging out at the games themselves. I didn’t have a plan for the day but you make a good point – there are lots of things to enjoy at the games, especially if you love Scottish music!

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