LUCAS — The sound of bagpipes echoed throughout Saint Andrews’ Field during the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Glasgow Highland Games on Saturday at Barren River Lake State Resort Park.
James C. Burnett of Leys — chief of the House of Burnett — who is from Aberdeenshire in the eastern portion of the Scottish Highlands, marched across the field as part of the ceremony.
Burnett was this year’s honored chief of the games.
Field announcer Bob Valentine said there are hundreds of Highland Games across the country, and many of them have a tradition where they invite a representative of one of the old Scottish families to be an honored guest.
“It calls attention either to a person, or to an organization — a clan — that has been outstanding in making contributions to the continuation of history, culture and tradition,” Valentine said.
Burnett said he was very honored to be recognized during this year’s games.
“I’ve been to one or two before, but I’ve never been honored,” he said.
During the opening ceremonies, Burnett addressed the crowd. He said his welcome to Kentucky was “very warm,” both metaphorically and physically, which garnered a collective laugh from the audience.
Burnett “confessed” that he thinks Highland Games in the U.S. are “much more Scottish” than those in Scotland.
“I’m sure I can learn something from today and tomorrow and return with some useful ideas for our games back home,” he said. “We all look forward to the events of the next few days.
“I’m sure we’ll witness excellence in all that takes place.”
Valentine said one of his favorite parts about the Glasgow Highland Games is the Children’s Games.
“It’s great sport to see the children try Scottish athletic events,” he said. “Some of the them will prove to be more adept at that than they are traditional American sports — so maybe they find themselves.
“But it’s always great fun to see the kids having a good time.”
Valentine said it is also a pleasure to see all of the adult athletes compete on Saint Andrews’ Field, including those who participate in the Women’s National Scottish Athletics Championship.
“We’re seeing champions,” he said of the women who compete. “It makes a real statement to young American women — look what you can do if you set your mind to it.”
The Glasgow Highland Games, with all of its pageantry, clans and “men in kilts,” is like “a big family reunion,” Valentine said. “It’s a great way to celebrate family.”
Aside from official events, some patrons of the Highland Games also participate in recreational activities throughout the weekend.
Charlie Atkinson, 13, of Bowling Green, threw battle axes at a target. He said he became interested in throwing them at last year’s Highland Games, adding that he now practices with his own set at home.
There was a also group of people participating in Amtgard battles in a shaded area. Mary Price, 10, of Glasgow, and Elyse Scruggs, 7, of Bowling Green, held fake weapons and wore huge smiles as they had a mock duel.
A member of a local Amtgard group said they participate in Amtgard battles from noon to 4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday at Weldon Park in Glasgow.