CANMORE – Next year is shaping up to be one hell of a make-up party.
After Canmore Highland Games organizers cancelled the 2020 event, which is just one of an endless stream of cancellations due to COVID-19, the longstanding tradition celebrating Celtic heritage is scheduled to return in 2021 for its landmark 30th anniversary.
“It’s hard to plan anything when you don’t know what your limitations are, but at the moment, we’re hoping everything is a-go for the games next year; that’s the plan,” said Sandy Bunch, president of the Canmore Highland Games.
The games are tentatively scheduled for Sept. 4-5, 2021 at Centennial Park and will include events and vendors such as the Taste of the Highlands, Canmore Ceilidh, heavy games and tug of war contest, traditional dancing, piping and drumming, British car and motorcycle show, a sheep dog demonstration, and clan tents proudly displaying their Coat of Arms.
“I think we’ve done very well that we’ve got to 30 [years] and we’re looking forward to make it a good one,” said Bunch. “But again, we’re just waiting to see how the laws are going to change, or the rules are going to change and how we can run the event especially with the Ceilidh where you got the big tent.”
In years past, thousands have gathered outdoors and in tents during the two-day festival to watch competitions, demonstrations and enjoy food, beverages and live music. The volume of people clustered into Centennial Park brought forward safety concerns at this year’s event due to COVID-19 and ultimately the games were axed.
In the meantime, Bunch and the Canmore Highland Games crew will take this year off and get ready to raise a glass for the 30th anniversary, which they intend to host "our best festival ever."