VISTA — Nearly 15,000 Scots and admirers of Scotland from far and wide crowded Brengle Terrace Park to the skirl of a hundred pipers for the 36th annual San Diego Highland Games the weekend of June 27 and June 28.
Each year brings a consistent suite of entertainment. The mass band of pipers and drummers paraded around the main field led by the Colour Guard of the 42nd Blackwatch Highland Regiment. Graceful dancers showed off the steps of Scotland. Clever sheepdogs competed in the ancient art of sheep herding.
A missing attraction was the Friday night concert at the nearby Moonlight Amphitheater that traditionally precedes the games. Renovation had just been completed on the theater, and the concert was pre-empted by Moonlight’s pre-opening gala on Saturday night. Games Publicity Officer Lori Butler lamented the situation, saying that the concert was usually a big draw as well as a money-maker for the city.
On the other hand, for the first time, Pendleton Marines faced off against a group of burly Scots in a tug of war contest. In a huge upset for the home team, the Marines won the Saturday afternoon contest. The Highland Games will return to Vista next year, and there will surely be a rematch.