Aberdeen Highland Games returning to entertain and educate locals in 2019

GREAT SCOT: Aberdeen Highland Games president Charles Cooke is looking forward to a memorable 20th anniversary for the event.
GREAT SCOT: Aberdeen Highland Games president Charles Cooke is looking forward to a memorable 20th anniversary for the event.

THE Scottish have a long and rich history in this country, whether it be through their arrival on the first fleet, the over two million Australians who claim their heritage or our mutual enjoyment of mocking the English.

However, their cultural influence is probably the biggest impact they've had and the Aberdeen Highland Games (AHG) is one of the best examples of this.

Held annually, the Upper Hunter event is a highlight on the local calendar and thousands from the region and beyond are set to attend again on Saturday, July 6, for its 20th anniversary.

In a touching tribute, Nicola O'Driscoll will be the chieftain, after her father donned the title for the inaugural event back in 2000 - she will also be the first female to take on the role.

Having grown significantly since its inception, it's clear the residents have become captivated by the entertainment and competitions on display, and it'll be more of the same in 2019, according to AHG president Charles Cooke.

"We like to keep our program the same or very similar every year," he said.

"It's the old saying, if it's not broke you don't fix it.

"The support seems to be increasing so we can only think we're doing the right things."

Mr Cooke said the Highland Games were a point of difference in the area with other major events being agricultural or equine focused.

"It's very much a cultural thing I suppose and it's not bringing in the run of the mill day things," he stated.

Dancing, pipe band displays, Kilted Warriors competition, tug of war and a range of novelty events will also be on throughout the day, which will certainly keep show-goers from being let down.

Proceedings begin with a muster at Jefferson Park at 8am and run through until 4pm where a closing ceremony will take place.

A quintet contest for pipe bands at the Aberdeen RSL Club will begin at 6pm with a ticketed ceilidh proceeding half an hour later; and a kirkin' of the tartan service will finish the event at 10.30am at St Mark's Church on Sunday.

Tickets for the event are $25 for adults, $20 for concession or children 13 to 18 and $50 for families at the gate but $5 cheaper for those who prepay, and $30 for those camping.