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It's all about tradition at the 19th Annual Scottish Games & Festival on Saturday in Green Cove Springs, Fla.
Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

That is the only question before you as you prepare for the 19th Annual Northeast Florida Scottish Games & Festival on Saturday at the Clay County Fairgrounds in Green Cove Springs, Fla.

What a place for a fling

Maybe it’s not so very odd that the state’s largest celebration of Scottish culture is parked squarely in Clay county.

Scots got off the Appalachian Trail in Georgia with all the other Brits and walked the rest of the way to Greater Jacksonville about 300 years ago.

There are still plenty here.

Their mission?

To “foster the growth and understanding of Scottish culture through athletic competition, Celtic music, highland dance, entertainment and food."

See men in skirts

The traditions of the highland games go back over 1,000 years ­when early Scottish military commanders used competitive sports to train troops for battle.

After the games, the men relaxed with highland dances and pipe music.

With over 40 clans represented in northeast Florida, you’ll understand that the festival is a big damn deal.

What the hell’s a caber?

Here’s what’s to see, hear and do:

  • Pipe band competitions
  • Parade of clans
  • Scottish geneaologists – You can trace your clan roots right there at the festival.
  • Big sweaty men throwing things – battle axes, sheaves, hammers & cabers (19-foot telephone poles that weigh 175 lbs. See the video.) – for prizes and “for honor.”
  • Herding demonstrations
  • Fencing (with swords)
  • Falconry
  • Celtic harps, fiddles and tunes
  • Celtic rock bands Albannach (means “Scotsmen”) and Rathkeltair (locals from Jacksonville Beach).

Competition begins at 9 a.m. with Opening Ceremonies at noon.

For a complete list of events and times, click here.

And then there’s the food

If visions of haggis (sheep’s belly) make you gag even though it’s the national dish of Scotland, treat yourself to a Scotch egg – a hard-boiled egg wrapped in a thick layer of pork sausage then rolled in bread crumbs or Corn Flakes® and deep fried.

Your garnishes are mustard and savory pickle, like dill pickle relish.

Or maybe you’ll have the shortbread and some tea.

Tuck up your tartan

Yep, festivals goers are invited and encourage to wear tartans.

FYI – Underpants are optional under kilts.

Don’t miss the floor show.

GJE

19th Annual Scottish Games & Festival

  • Sat., Feb. 22, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Admission: Advance $12 Adult, Gate $15, Kids under 10 FREE, FREE parking.
  • Clay County Fairgrounds
  • 2497 State Rd. 16 West
  • Green Cove Springs, Fla.
  • Phone: 904-725-5744
  • E-Mail: info@neflgames.com

www.neflgames.com

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OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact: kt.4examiner@yahoo.com