The Athena Caledonian Games, held in the Athena, Oregon, are more than just an event – they’re a step into the Scottish Highlands! In the 19th Century, Scottish Highlanders immigrated to the beautiful city, and brought their styles and traditions with them. Before WW1, Athena had a Caledonian Society (that’s what the Ancient Greeks and Romans used to call them) that held an annual picnic featuring Scottish dancing and bagpipes. In the 1950’s, the tradition was revived, and for 3 days starting July 10th and running through the 12th, spectators will have the opportunity to experience for themselves the rich culture that the Scottish Athenian’s left behind.
The Caledonian Games 5k is held in the middle of the weekend festivities on July 11th. The race starts at 7:30am, and kicks off a full day of Scottish celebration, so feel free to stay around after the race to enjoy the festivities. Award medals will be given out to overall winners and top masters, with ribbons going out to the top 5 age group finishers. Don’t feel up to running a 5k? That’s ok! They are offering a 1 mile option as well. At 9am the parade through Main Street begins, so walkers and runners will need to be finished prior to the parade start.
There seems to be quite a lot of various events planned for the weekend events, but here are a few highlights of some events I thought might entice you to Athena..
1. Sheepdog Trials: The purpose of the sheepdog trialing is to test a dog and handler’s ability to move sheep over a prescribed course made up of practical obstacles found in everyday work. I’m assuming by “everyday”, they don’t mean office furniture..
2. Dancing: this year they are hosting a “shindig” instead of a Highland dancing competition. Scottish dancing will still be a part of the program, so prepare to change out of your running shoes and into your dancing shoes!
3. Piping: YES!!!!!!! Who doesn’t love the sound of bagpipes all day long! Ok, I’m sure it won’t be all day, but be prepared for there to be SOME Scottish Celtic sounds around! According to the event site, “Today’s Highland Bagpipe can trace it’s history back to a Middle Eastern origin. Ancestors of modern Celtic people brought this instrument with them as they traveled west and north from Mesopotamia.” Learn something new everyday, don’t yah..
4. Athletic Events: Listen to the names of some of the competitions that will be going on…Scottish Hammer. Stone Putt. Sheaf Toss, Scottish Cabor Toss. I may not have a clue what any of those are, but I can tell you they sound difficult, thrilling, and down right Scottish!
5. Storytellers: I think this one goes without saying, but you’ll get to experience the way Highlanders shared their victories, and lores…through the art of storytellers.
This is a great opportunity to have a new race experience. Enjoy a 5k while being amerced in ancient European culture, and walk away with more than just a PR….walk away with knowledge.
When: Race is on July 11th at 7:30 am
Where: Athena City Park, Athena Oregon
Cost: $15 for 5k ($20 on race day), 1 mile is $5 ($10 on race day)