Highland Games fun to the Macs!

By Abi Thomas

Brush off that New Year's hangover, down some more whisky and, "och aye", head to Waipu on Tuesday for Cead Mile Failte (a Hundred Thousand Welcomes) to the Waipu Caledonian Society's 142nd Highland Games.

Thousands are expected at the popular event, the largest Highland Games in New Zealand and voted by the International Highland Games Association as the best in the world.

Clan Fergusson is host for the event, which will begin in a swirl of bagpipes and tartan with the procession of clans down the main street of Waipu from 9.30am.

They will be accompanied by the Waipu Pipe Band, and march on to Caledonian Park, where the games will be opened by Whangarei Mayor Morris Cutforth at midday.

Highlights of the games include the NZ Highland Dancing Championships, and the annual New Zealand Heavyweight Championships.

The heavyweight competitions are always a favourite with spectators, with events such as caber-tossing and sheaf-throwing, and will feature former Northlander and 15-times New Zealand champion Patrick Hellier.

Fiddle-playing demonstrations will be held, as will Scottish country dancing, children's running races and a "Guess the Flag" competition.

The popular Tartan in the Park fashion competition is also back, with a new category this year for children under 4.

Each clan society has a tent in the Avenue of the Clans, where the public can learn about the history of each clan. As well, there will be a competition for the best presented site in the Avenue.

The events will end about 5pm, with the annual ceilidh finishing off the day.

The dance event is held in the Waipu Community Coronation Hall and begins at 7pm with the Twisty Willow Celtic Band.

- Northern Advocate

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