MARQUEE - Be proud of your plaid at the Athena Caledonian Games

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Bagpipers tune up beneath the big trees of City Park in Athena during 2009's Caledonian Games.July 11, 2009

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A bag piper makes a final adjustment to the slant of his hat just prior to playing during piping competition Saturday morning at the Caledonian Games in Athena, Oregon. July 11, 2009

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Showing her Scottish mettle with two 3rd place medals in the novice category of The Sword Dance and The Highland Fling, 7-year-old (soon-to-be 8 in five days) Kaylee Sommers of Richland stood tall in tartan attire on the center stage at the Caledonian Games in Athena, Oregon Saturday morning. Kaylee was at the games with family and two older sisters, Kendra and Kirsten---who are also Scottish dancers. July 11, 2009

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Doug Barclay, gloves-up for an event at the Caledonian Games Saturday in Athena, Oregon. July 12, 2008

On Saturday and Sunday, the Athena Caledonian Games Association will recreate an annual Scottish heritage festival in Athena much like the Highland games that Scotland has held for centuries.

Families and friends are invited to come to this free festival to share music, dancing and sport. Spectators are welcome, but spectators may wish to become actively involved. There are many opportunities to participate. There will be a 5K run and walk, horseshoe tournaments and Scottish athletic events. Other events include a Highland dancing competition and a piping competition. Vendors have merchandise featuring Scottish flair such as books, tartan ties, music and jewelry.

Clan tents offer information about your heritage by looking up your name in their books and helping you to find your clan, tartan, clan motto and perhaps clan castle if it still exists in Scotland.

The Athena Caledonian Games has its "eye on the sky" this year. Clan MacBean from Hermiston will participate in the clan tent area. Related to Astronaut Alan Bean, this clan has a piece of tartan that they believe might have been to the moon and back with Astronaut Bean in 1969. This Moon Tartan will be on display at Caledonian.

The Highland dancing competition highlights young people in historical dances that reflect Scottish life. The Flora McDonald dance honors the famous lady in Scottish history who saved Bonnie Prince Charlie. The Sword Dance was once done by warriors competing for agility and strength, and the beautiful Sailor's Hornpipe, performed by dancers in sailor costume, depicts work by sailors onboard ship.

The ever-popular sheep dog trials draws sheep dogs and handlers from across the Pacific Northwest to compete. Together, the handler and dog maneuver sheep through gates in a timed competition. Sometimes the dog must cut out and separate some sheep from the flock. The dog works with the handler's voice and whistle commands in a unique display of partnership.

The Scottish athletic events start at noon on Saturday, and there are no entry fees, but some age limits do apply. Spectators may enter to try the Scottish hammer toss event, the weight toss event and the most popular event, the caber toss. The caber looks like a telephone pole and the participant must throw the caber end over end. There are women's, men's and masters level events.

Tri-Cities bagpipe fans will be able to cheer their own Desert Thistle Pipe Band at the annual Caledonian Games Tattoo. The outdoor concert of pipe bands called the Tattoo is a military review historically in Scotland. Pipe bands are an inspiration as they march at the 6:30 p.m.performance on Saturday. The Desert Thistle Pipe Band has performed annually at Caledonian's Tattoo for more than 30 years. Bagpipe bands expected to perform are the River City Pipe Band from Portland, Boise Highlanders and Weston-McEwen Pipes and Drum from Athena High School.

Athena is just off Highway 11, halfway between Pendleton and Walla Walla. Driving directions, schedule and activities are highlighted at www.athenacaledoniangames.org .

For more information, contact Sue Friese at 541-566-3880.

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