With kilts and bagpipes, Ligonier Highland Games returns to Idlewild Park

With kilts and bagpipes, Ligonier Highland Games returns to Idlewild Park

The Ligonier Highland Games, a regional celebration of all things Scottish,  kilts for sale returns to Idlewild Park and SoakZone with colorful kilts, bleating bagpipes, haggis and more.

The 61st annual opportunity to “get your plaid on” will take place Sept. 14 and 15.

Last year, the popular event expanded from one day to two.

The event boasts popular athletic games — caber toss, sheaf toss and hammer throw, executive director Richard Wonderly says.

Some staff members born and raised in the Scottish Highlands say the Allegheny Mountains remind them of home, Wonderly adds.

“It’s a fun event for the whole family. You can bring your own food and drink, and parking is free. There are so many activities for kids and adults. You don’t have to be Scottish to enjoy it. It’s just a great time,” he says.

Sounds of Scotland

Dominic St. Charles, a local native, is among the new entertainers this year, performing at the games for the first time on Sunday.

The Melbourne, Fla., resident grew up in the Pittsburgh area and spent many of his younger years at a family cottage in Laughlintown. “I haven’t been to the Highland Games in 30-plus years. I remember it being fun,” St. Charles says.

He fronts two bands, URN and O’Hichidhe, but will perform solo during his Ligonier appearance.

“My dad’s side of the family came over from Waterford, Ireland. That music was always something that I heard. We heard all those fun Irish songs. I took it a step further. I was always researching songs that tend to be more indicative of Irish pride,” St. Charles says.

Those attending the festival can look forward to songs including “The Foggy Dew” and “Caledonia” (a Scottish folk ballad), he says. He tries to stay away from the most well-known songs, but may throw in a traditional tune like “The Wind That Shakes the Barley.”

Listeners will likely hear music they recognize from The Chieftains and The Dubliners, along with some of his compositions, St. Charles says.

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