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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Celebrating 50 years


Ken Buchanan puts all his strength into the Caber Toss at the Spokane Highland Games. The pole weighs 80 lbs and is 18 feet long. 
 (File photos/ / The Spokesman-Review)
Ken Buchanan puts all his strength into the Caber Toss at the Spokane Highland Games. The pole weighs 80 lbs and is 18 feet long. (File photos/ / The Spokesman-Review)

A Scottish tradition returns to its Coeur d’Alene roots next Saturday when members of the St. Andrew’s Society of Spokane gather in City Park to celebrate its 50th anniversary with a picnic and Highland games.

“This is where it began,” said Donna Graham, Spokane Highland Games publicity chairwoman. “Because it is the 50th anniversary (of the St. Andrew’s Society), we decided to take it back to its roots and invite all the old-timers. We expect quite a crowd.”

John Cameron, also known as “Scottie,” started an annual picnic group for people of Scottish descent in Coeur d’Alene in 1935. In 1959 the first Scottish festival was held in Coeur d’Alene to coincide with the picnic. The annual event was held in City Park with piping and Highland dancing on Saturday and the picnic on Sunday. The event stayed in Coeur d’Alene until 1978, when it moved to Spokane and became the Spokane Highland Games in 1979.

The 50th anniversary celebration includes the Highland dancing groups, pipe bands, Scottish country dancing and the Spokane Highland Games Association.

The Angus Scott Pipe Band will provide the meat, and guests should bring a side dish, salad or dessert. Visitors who want to hear the music are encouraged to attend and need not bring a dish. The fun begins at noon and ends at 6 p.m.

In 1967, the Coeur d’Alene School of Piping and Drumming became a part of the festival. The school has been held on the North Idaho College campus for 32 years and takes place July 30 through Aug. 7. The school is a one-week immersion in all facets of piping and Highland drumming, according to its Web site, www.csspd.com. This year, the chief instructor in piping will be Andrew Wright of Dublane, Scotland. Some of the pipers from the Spokane area will attend the school, Graham said. Spectators are welcome to attend public recitals Aug. 2 and 4.

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