Judging conflict forces Caledonian Games to drop dance competition

Bridging the lines between song and dance, Nikki Hessner of Spokane is framed by the Athena Park Gazebo fence as she practices for piping while dressed in her Highland Fling outfit.  Hessner competes as a beginning dancer in this year's Caledonian Games and also as a Grade 4 piper.

Bridging the lines between song and dance, Nikki Hessner of Spokane is framed by the Athena Park Gazebo fence as she practices for piping while dressed in her Highland Fling outfit. Hessner competes as a beginning dancer in this year's Caledonian Games and also as a Grade 4 piper. Jeff Horner

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ATHENA — Every year in the second full weekend of July, people come from around Oregon and Washington to experience the Athena Caledonian Games.

They come to see the sheep dog trials and the kilts. They come to hear the bagpiping, to try their hand at Scottish Highland games like the stone put and sheaf toss. They also come to watch Highland dancing.

But, this year the Caldonian Games was unable to organize a dance competition.

Kayla Durfee, dance competition organizer, said there were multiple factors involved but the main issue stemmed from an inability to secure at qualified judge.

Highland dance judges are represented by the Federation of United States Teachers and Abjudicators, which this year is presenting an inter-regional Highland dancing championship in Arizona on the same weekend as Athena’s games.

The Caldonian Games then booked another judge, who also had to back out for other reasons.

The best option for the organizers then was to look internationally. But that was nixed after working out the funding, because the games pay all expenses for its judges and international travel fees in combination with food and lodging would be too expensive.

So organizers now hope there will be a Highland dance demonstration in the place of this year’s competition. And that could be just as entertaining because demonstrations could include dances not usually featured in the competition.

“We are hoping to have dances highlighted that we don’t normally offer, because we need five to six entries per class,” said Durfee. This would include a reel dancing, an Irish jig and others.

“We plan to have our competition as usual next year; we hope to see some very fun dancing this year,” said Durfee.

For more information about the Caldonian Games, click here.

Evelyn Levine can be reached at evelynlevine@wwub.com or 509-526-8323.


Caledonian Games schedule

FRIDAY

6:30-8 p.m. — Sheep dog demonstration, high school athletic field

7:15 p.m. — Candle lighting ceremony, Athena City Park

SATURDAY

6-10 a.m. — Breakfast: American Legion Hall, Main Street

7a.m.-2 p.m. — Sheep herding trials: athletic field

7:30 a.m. — 5K Run, Third Street gate to City Park; Caledonian 1 Mile Walk and Kids 1 Mile Run

8:00 a.m.-6 p.m. — Caledonian souvenirs and food vendors open

8:45 a.m. — Children’s Bike and Trike Parade (Line up at tennis courts 8:15 a.m.)

9:00 a.m. — Caledonian Parade

10:00 a.m. — Piping competition: City Park

10:30 a.m. — Celtic Harp, Janet Naylor, creek side area of City Park (also at noon and 2 p.m.)

11:30 a.m. — Scottish stories, Mary Finney, creek side area of City Park (also at 12:30 p.m.)

Scottish Athletic Games: registration, big green tTent

Noon — Scottish Athletic Competitions begin, Big Green Tent

1:00 p.m. — Open registration for Horseshoed Tournament

Eugene Highlanders Pipe Band: stage and vendor area

1:30 p.m. — Celtic Music in the Park: Skweez the Weezle (also at 4:30 p.m.)

2:00 p.m. —Time and Points Obstacle Dog Trial

Horseshoe Tournament in City Park

2:30 p.m. — Boise Highlanders, stage and vendor area

3:00 p.m. — Celtic Music in the Park: Anna and Jesse Burgess

4:00 p.m. — Shadle Park Pipe Band, stage and vendor area

6:15 p.m. — Sheep Dog Handling Exhibition “Running of the Sheep” for kids, Athletic Field

6:30 p.m. — Caledonian Tattoo: Athletic Field

SUNDAY

7:00-10 a.m. — American Legion Breakfast, Main Street

8:00 a.m. — Sheep dog trials, Athletic field

9:00 a.m. — Vendors open

9:30 a.m. — Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan Community Church service at City Park. Bring Chairs

Janet Naylor, Celtic harpist, vendor area

10:30 a.m. — Coffee Hour, Shelter House in the Park

Caledonian Quilt Show

Walla Walla Cruisers Old Cars

Janet Naylor, Celtic Harp

11:30 a.m. — Celtic Music in the Park, Anna and Jesse Burgess

1:00 p.m. — Weston-McEwen Pipes, Drum and Military Band

1:30 p.m. — Blue Mountain Wildlife, City Park, Live birds in demonstration with Lynn Tompkins

2:00 p.m. — Horseshoes tournament

2:30 p.m. — Front Porch Band

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