Arts & Entertainment

Scottish traditions to come to life

ATHENA, Ore. -- The traditions of Scotland come to life July 11-13 in Athena as the annual Caledonian Games begins its 109th year.

More than 2,500 people came to the tiny Eastern Oregon town, about 15 miles northeast of Pendleton, for the inaugural festival in 1899, most arriving by train or horse and buggy.

The festival featured two Scottish dancers and one piper for the musical entertainment. There also were speeches by town dignitaries and a baseball game, as well as a few Scottish athletic events.

But these days, the event has grown to include more music, games and competitions, attracting even more fans from throughout the Northwest.

Events start July 11 with a traditional Scottish social dinner called a Ceilidh at 5:30 p.m. at City Park. Music for the event will be provided by Buck 63 and a Rock.

Then on July 12, the day starts with a breakfast at 6 a.m. on Main Street followed by a 5K run at 7:30 a.m., dancing and bagpiping competitions and sheep dog trials.

The parade down Main Street starts at 9 a.m. There will be storytelling and enough tunes to appease any music lover.

The internationally-known Celtic group, Golden Bough, headline the entertainment with performances at 1:30, 3 and 4:45 p.m. July 12.

Also appearing will be Celtic harpist Janet Naylor, stories by Helen the Clown and the Weston-McEwen Pipes & Drums and Military Band.

The games happening throughout the event will be a stone put for women, caber toss and weight toss.

Admission to the festival is free.

A complete schedule of events is available at