Every Highland Games around the world comes with special touches that make a visit unique. Jenna Morton, Event Manager for the Greater Moncton Highland Games & Scottish Festival in New Brunswick, Canada, shares five things to watch for at their event, June 13 – 17, 2023.
1. Catch a surfer on the Tidal Bore
A what now? It’s a Maritime phenomenon. The Tidal Bore is the name given to a massive wave that makes its way down the Petitcodiac River twice a day, thanks to the immense tides of the Bay of Fundy. These are the highest tides in the world! The Petitcodiac River rises as much as 75 metres (or 25 feet) in a short burst of time, creating an epic wave that flows through between the City of Moncton and the Town of Riverview – right behind the Hal Betts Sportsplex, where the annual Greater Moncton Highland Games & Scottish Festival are held. The Tidal Bore is known to attract adventurous surfers from around the world!
2. Brandish a Broadsword or a Longbow
Merida might not be on site, but there will be archers with bows at the ready for you to try. This is always a favourite stop for young and old! There are also fly-tying demonstrations and a chance to give fly-casting a try, too. If you own your own broadsword, please don’t bring it to the field – unless you’ve signed up for the Maritime Sword School’s competition, of course! This organization is working to bring back a centuries-old practice of learning the art of swordsmanship with the introduction of single stick training and competitions locally. They were very well received at the 2022 event and we’re excited to welcome them back for 2023.
3. Throw a Tree Trunk in the Air
We know, the Caber Toss and the rest of the Heavy Events aren’t necessarily unique to these games. But the Greater Moncton Highland Games & Scottish Festival is a great training ground for would-be athletes with high expectations. The Moncton Games has hosted the Canadian Scottish Athletic Federation’s Open Professional and Lightweight championships, as well as the 2022 SMAI Masters World Championships. Come see if you could join the ranks of the strongest men and women in the world with our ‘Give it a Try’ workshop on Friday night – including a chance at the Caber – then watch the veteran competitors on Saturday!
4. Cheer on the Sheep
Or maybe you’ll cheer for the dogs! Each year local sheep dogs show off their herding skills on site, with demonstrations ongoing throughout the day. You can follow the process from sheep to shawl, with shearing and weaving demonstrations on site, too. (PS: Don’t forget to visit the nearby petting zoo, including our Highland Cows, and enjoy a horse and wagon ride around the grounds – all included in the price of admission to the grounds.)
5. Eat Haggis, Drink Local, and Sing Loud
Whether it’s the Haggis Poutine or an Alma Lobster roll, you’re sure to find something purely Scottish Canadian to enjoy at the Greater Moncton Highland Games! Our Pub Tent, located next to the food vendors, offers some of New Brunswick’s best ales, wines, and spirits — and the Highlands Stage is hopping with music with the likes of Gaelic singer Patricia Murray, fiddler Ivan Hicks, Cape Breton’s Nathan Bishop MacDonald, the Landry Highland Dancers, and more!
The 17th annual Greater Moncton Highland Games & Scottish Festival takes place June 13 – 17, 2023. There are free community concerts, flag raisings, a ‘try it’ heavies event and pub night Friday, and a full day of entertainment and competitions on Saturday. Visit the petting zoo with Highland cows, sign up for the 5KM Tartan Run, watch the dancers, pipers, drummers, swordfighters, blacksmith, spinners, weavers, sheep herders and shearers, and enjoy wagon rides, bouncy castles, and more fun for the whole family. Admission is just $10/person or $25/family, with children 12 & under free. Held on the third weekend in June, the Greater Moncton Highland Games & Scottish Festival is a great way to kick off your Maritime summer!
Main photo: On parade. Photo: Heidi-Lyn.