The Dixon Scottish Cultural Association will present the Dixon Scottish Highland Games from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the May Fairgrounds, 655 S. First St. in Dixon.
The games will feature athletic events such as the caber toss and weight toss; Highland and country dancing; pipe and drum bands; cattle dog demonstrations; a living history display; and vendors with products, crafts, food and beverages from the United Kingdom.
Numerous clans will provide information about the history of Scotland and assist those interested in exploring their Scottish roots.
Music will be performed by Brother and The Browne Sisters with George Cavanaugh.
Brother fuses signature vocals and guitar with the deep pulse of the didgeridoo, the soaring highs of the bagpipes and tribal percussion. The band’s live performances are an energetic celebration, captivating and engaging the audience from the first song to the last.
The Browne Sisters, with their cousin George Cavanaugh, have been performing together for almost 20 years at concerts and festivals across the United States. The group has been called the West Coast’s first family of Celtic music.
The Dixon Scottish Cultural Association was founded in February 2000 to promote Scottish culture and heritage, and is open to all like-minded folks regardless of ethnic or national origin. The association hosted its first Highland Games in 2000.
While the DSCA gained members from throughout the Bay Area, Central Valley and Sierra regions of Northern California, the games attracted competitors, vendors and musicians from across California and the United States.
In 2002, the Scottish American Athletic Association recognized the Dixon games as the premier one-day event in the nation. The fourth annual games, in 2003, were recognized as the fastest growing one-day event in the nation.
The earliest forms of the Highland Games were developed before the dawn of Christianity. The earliest gatherings were essentially war games, designed to identify the best warriors in each clan.
The athletic events at this year’s games evolved from primitive versions created to test the contestants’ strength, stamina, agility and accuracy. They used materials found in their environment and so the caber toss, stone put, hammer throw and weight toss were their training tools and methods.
The oldest organized Highland Games were played in 11th century Scotland, during the reign of King Malcolm III. A royal contest was held to find the swiftest runners in the kingdom, similar to the marathon of the ancient Greeks. King Malcolm III wanted runners fast enough and with sufficient stamina to carry his messages across the land.
Highland Games were held annually throughout Scotland until the Battle of Culloden in 1746 and defeat by the English. The Act of Proscription banned the playing of the bagpipes, the wearing of the kilt, the gathering of people and the carrying of arms under penalty of deportation or death.
In the late 18th century — after Proscription was repealed — Highland societies began forming. In 1781, the first society gathering was held in Falkirk. Now, more than 100 Scottish societies host Highland Games across the United States each year.
Admission to the Dixon games is $8 general and $6 for seniors (ages 65 and up) and children (ages 9 to 17). Children under 9 are admitted for free. All active military personnel, with valid active-duty military ID, will be admitted for free.
Pets on leashes are welcome. RV and tent camping is available at the fairgrounds.