New Hampshire (NH) Highland Games, At Loon, September 21 – 23.
…by Anura Guruge
The Games are just over a month away. So we as a family kind of start a countdown for the Games. The Laconia Multicultural Day, which in marked contrast to the Games typically tends to get better each year, will come before that. That is also on the calendar. As I said yesterday, I stumbled upon the Games serendipitously in 1997. Other than for the last year when they were being (stupidly) held in Hopkington, when we just couldn’t take going there and sitting in cow sheds (replete with manure), I have been attending yearly. So, I think that is 13 Games I have attended. From 1999 to 2007, I would go for the whole weekend getting there on Friday afternoon — and going to the Friday night concert. Yes, I was there when we had the hurricane. Yes, I have been there in the rain — prior to the days of the Performance (or Concert) Tent. Now we just go for the day — many times on Friday to see the sheep trials.
The kids love it. That is good. In 1997, Matthew was 5. He was hooked. He loved the Games. He attended without fail for the next 8 years. Once he became a teenager other things took priority. Devanee has been going since she was 3. Teischan since she was born; in 2006, 6 months old, we took her, in the rain, in her carriage, for the whole weekend. Devanee and Teischan now start talking about the Games around May.
We didn’t get the usual colorful brochure urging us to pre-buy tickets, at a discount, this year. That is OK. If that saved a tree, all the better. You can get a PDF of the brochure here.
They don’t have the schedule as yet. They say they will have it in early September. That is fair.
I checked the list of performers. All the usual suspects are listed. The perennial Brigadoons are on the list, as they have always been from day one. I like the Brigadoons. Liked them from the first time I heard them. Great group of folks, though the cast list keeps on changing. Jackie, with whom I used to chat each year, died a couple of years ago. That was a shame. He was a delightful guy. All the men really need to lose some weight. Their music is haunting, but I will confess that it is kind of getting ‘old’. They, alas, typify what I THINK is happening to The Games. It is like a slowly leaking helium balloon. It is still inflated, but the gas is slowly leaking out.
The Games, don’t get me wrong, are still FUN. Great value for money. And, NO I am not one of those nostalgics that ALWAYS claim that things in the past were better. No, that is not me. I live for the future. But, the Games LACK the energy they had a decade ago. WAY, WAY more commercialized than it was. Yes, that is inevitable. It used to be much more spontaneous — a block party. Yes, as the commercial side has grown they have to regimentalize the show. So, yes, you can’t have the Glengarry Bhoys doing their own impromptu jam in the parade ground on Sunday afternoon. But, that was fun. So much energy. Yes, Albannach (the recreated Clanna Drumma) still try to bring some life to The Games. Very nice bunch of guys and one girl. Great personality. Will stop and chat with each and every. But …
The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, who were shown on NBC during the Olympics, are not there anymore. Always happens. As soon as a group makes it big — it is adieus The Games. Seven Nations entertained us for a few years. They are gone.
Well, we will still be going, unless there is a 3 day hurricane over the weekend. I don’t think I can do that again. There is a chance that I will ramble on more about The Games before they start.