Queen Mary’s ScotsFestival and Highland Games

Kilts, Kilts, Kilts, Lads and Ladies!

Travel is a great way to get a feel for other cultures, but there are options closer to home, like the Queen Mary’s ScotsFestival & International Highland Games. For one weekend a year Long Beach California becomes home to a boisterous celebration of Scottish food, dance, and athletics.

Queen Mary's Scotsfestival Dance CompetitionFashion, history, and accents are just the start of all the fun to be had. There were so many competitions to watch it was hard to know where to go next. The Queen Mary is a destination not to be missed on any visit to Southern California, being inside this magnificent ship to watch dancing competitions with live bagpipe accompaniment is epic. Outside in the sunshine men and women put themselves to the test in the Highland Games and I was equally captivated. These Scots have developed some sports you likely have never heard of, but man are they fun to watch!Highland games at the Queen Mary

Yes, the competitors are wearing kilts while they take part in nine feats of strength in these different events. Nine! Talk about endurance. They throw a number of different heavy items at varied weights, a stone, a Scottish hammer, a caber (the caber is a timber like a telephone pole at 15 to 23 feet long and weighing in at somewhere between 70 and 130 pounds), a sheaf toss (straw in a burlap sack tossed over a high bar with a pitchfork), and weights tossed for height and distance. They are wild to watch as men and women take their turns at each contest.
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ScotsFestival at the Queen Mary Giveaway!

Kilts are not required, but are encouraged… Comment and Enter Below

The 25th ScotsFestival is taking place at the Queen Mary in Long Beach California this February 17-18 from 9am-6pm and we are giving away 4 General Admission Passes for opening day! Food, fun, and family activities are all on the agenda with live music, dancers, and the Scottish Highland Games. If your only connection to Scotland is Braveheart than this is the perfect opportunity to get an authentic feel for the culture and the history.

So what are the Scottish Highland Games? They consist of some activities you might be familiar with and others that might sound strange. Putting the Shot is similar to what we do in track and field today, but then the Scotts start throwing the interesting stuff. The Caber Toss – a large pole, The Hammer Throw – an actual sledgehammer, The Sheaf Toss – throwing a burlap bag of straw with a pitchfork. Who doesn’t want to check that out?

After watching the athletics you might want to put yourself to the test. ScotsFestival comes complete with a sixty-foot obstacle course FEAT OF STRENGTH. No joke. You can see where you stand after competing against your peers and rising to the challenge. I am for sure going to give it a try! For the little ones there is a whole section of kids activities to enjoy so everyone can get involved in the games.
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Chill at the Queen Mary, Long Beach Ca.

A Winter Wonderland in Southern California!

Chill at the Queen Mary is the United States’ first-ever Ice Adventure Park and it is a great way to enjoy the Holiday Season. With the beautiful Queen Mary ship lit for the Holidays in the background Chill is a lovely destination of lights and activities. There are any number of adventures to enjoy, from the sweet, to the bumpy, to the high flying, they have options for the whole family. Why not also enjoy some seasonal specialties of both food and drink to add to the experience.

The most obvious activity for an Ice Park is skating of course and that is the center piece of Chill. Included in the price of admission this will keep you busy as you skate from section to section. Skate through a giant igloo dome showing the Northern Lights, enjoy the live shows on the different stages along the path. You can hop off at the Swiss Chalet for a snack, or to take a break. A large portion of the park is accessably by foot or skate.

The next Winter classic that comes to mind is sledding. My favorite to enjoy is Chill’s tubing hill where you can race down next to your friends and family. If something milder or for the very little ones is more your speed check out a ride on the Worlds Largest Rocking Horse! If you get the Ultimate Expedition there are some more rides included or for an additional fee you can ride the bumper boats, take a turn around the speedway on a tricycle, or zipline in the park. Feeling creative? Try your hand at decorating a stocking or a gingerbread house. You can also take a break for the 4D Rudolph video on the actual ship theatre and get a look inside the Queen Mary.
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