Opening ceremonies

Opening ceremonies

It's a great tradition of the Wisconsin Highland Games – every Friday night, the clans gather for a display of pageantry outside as the sun begins to go down. Before the Games are declared open, the pipers play, the color guard presents the flag, and anthems are sung. There's a bit of the great speeches that Scots are known for, and the dedication of our Chieftain of the Games, Honored Clan, and Honored Celt.

And then our resident knight, Sir Carlo, arrives on horseback to call the clans; a fire is lit, and clansmen light their torches and form a procession to the ceremonies, where the Chieftain of the Games calls the clans! One by one each clan's representative steps forth and cries out their clan's motto, and perhaps news of their clan, or a tribute to those who've passed, or just a cheer, and heaves his or her torch into the fire!

After the Games are declared open, the Opening Ceremonies become a celebration, a ceilidh (Gaelic for "dance"), and the festivities move indoors to the Arena. There's always a live Celtic band or two to get your feet tapping, and a full cash bar, a fish fry with other great food too, and even some merchants from the Celtic Marketplace showing off their wares!

Please note – Friday at the Wisconsin Highland Games is a celebration: the rest of the grounds are not open on Friday, and competitions don't begin until Saturday morning. After the ceilidh is over, the clansfolk must get a good night's rest for the big weekend ahead!