According to some accounts, heavy athletic competitions similar to those practiced in Highland games originated in ancient Ireland. Sometime in the fourth or fifth century the games jumped the over the water to Scotland where the tradition endured. By the 11th century, Scottish men competed in the games to prove they had what it took to be a soldier or courier. Today's Highland games are an interesting mix of sporting, cultural and social components. On Saturday, St. Andrew's Society of Central Illinois, a nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping Celtic traditions alive, is hosting the games and festival at the county fairgrounds. In addition to awe-inspiring feats of strength and might, the event will feature bagpipe bands, food, Scottish and Irish dance performances, scotch tasting, clan information and other Celtic cultural exhibitions. Tickets are limited and can only be purchased online. More information can be found at centralillinoiscelts.com.

Springfield Area Highland Games and Celtic Festival
Saturday, May 14, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sangamon County Fairgrounds
316 W. Birch St., New Berlin
217-204-4028
$8-$15

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