As one of the few festivals that was held last year, the Douglas County Celtic Society Scottish Highland Games and Clan Gathering has practice hosting an event during the pandemic.

According to event coordinator Karissa Beals, last year’s event was visited by the health inspector, who gave the games a clean bill of health. Organizers took temperatures at the gate and spaced out booths more than the required social distance minimums. Because the event is held outdoors, masks were only required indoors.

“We didn’t really have a lot of people gathering in one place,” organizer Tim Moyer said. “We had signs everywhere warning against it and the clans were really good about asking people to separate if they saw any big crowds.”

Both Beals and Moyer paid close attention to COVID-19 numbers following last year’s event. No cases were ever tied to the games.

These measures will continue to be used at this year’s games, which will be held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 28-29 at Henry Estate Winery, 687 Hubbard Creek Road, Umpqua.

The two days will be full of Celtic, Irish and Scottish vendors, cultural information from numerous clans, Celtic music and the annual Oregon State Heavy Athletics Championships and Edges Weapons Championships.

“Last year, we had a very interesting thing happen and it is going to happen again this year,” Beals said. “Last year, all of the other highland games canceled ... we were the only games to be held in the Pacific Northwest. Athletes lose their status if they don’t compete, so we had three times the amount of athletes that we normally have.”

Usually, the games see 20-25 athletes competing in heavy athletics and around 18 in edged weapons. Last year, 63 competed in heavy athletics and 40-50 edged weapon competitors participated in the games. Organizers expect that many, if not more, this year.

In the edged weapons competition, athletes use axes, swords and bows in a series of test to be names the Lord High Protectorate of the Games.

The heavy athletics events include a caber toss, hammer throw, stone put and such to find the clan Chief’s champion.

Both events will be held in a large field away from the vendor and clan booths. A walkway leads from the grapes to the river. On one side will be the heavy athletics, with edged weapons on the other.

A parade of clans will take place at 1 p.m. each day, immediately following the cannon shot.

Bagpipers and other Celtic musicians have been invited to play throughout the day. Eugene Highlanders Pipe Band will headline the event, but many other musicians will also perform.

There will also be a Bonnie Knees competition for the men and a haggis eating competition.

Henry’s Estate Winery also has a playground area, horseshoe pits and mini golf area that will be available during the day. The winery will remain open throughout the weekend.

Admission is $11 for adults, $5 per child (7-12) and $10 for seniors; kids 6 and under are free. There is also a family pass option, which covers admission for two adults and three-plus children for $37. Parking is free.

Information: info@dcscots.com or the Douglas County Celtic Society Facebook page.

Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review. She can be reached at ewelch@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4218.

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Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review, mother of two and a native of Roseburg. She is an alumni of RHS, UCC and Western Oregon University. Contact her at ewelch@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4218.

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