By Michele Jarvie
FEBRUARY 8, 2017 9:00 PM
Canmore residents can kick up their heels again as a local developer has stepped in to save their Highland Games.
Spring Creek is taking the lead in forming a new non-profit society called the Malcolm Scottish Society which will take over the Canmore event.
“The Highland Games draw more than 5,000 visitors to Canmore each year … we couldn’t stand the idea of losing such a special event so we stepped up,” said Frank Kernick, president of Spring Creek, which has developed a full-scale neighbourhood in the town and is now building a $37-million hotel and conference centre.
In December, the Three Sister’s Scottish Festival Society announced that the games would be cancelled in 2017 as the group had dissolved as it lost volunteer members.
“It was a tough decision to dissolve and cancel the Highland Games but we just didn’t have the resources ti commit the time and energy needed,” said Sandy Bunch, former president of the Three Sister’s group.
The games will run on the Labour Day weekend, Sept. 2-3. 2017. The event has special meaning in Canmore as the original games were first introduced in Scotland in 1040 by King Malcolm, who was nicknamed Canmore. He initiated the feats of strength and speed as a way to choose the best men for soldiers and messengers.
The Highland Games today are a mix of Scottish sports such as caber tossing and the hammer throw and Scottish culture, like piping, drumming and dancing competitions. There will be live Celtic entertainment and beer gardens and the event wraps Sunday with a kitchen party-style celebration called a ceilidh.