I’ve been going to highland games every few years since I was a teenager and the Green Hill Park version was today in West Salem, so I showed up with my Canon 80D and its 55-200mm lens, hoping to capture some lasting images. I think I got some.
I have two clans–the Buchanans and Macquarries (Americanized as the McCourrys)–one ancient and one more recent, both with butt-ugly tartans (a Christmas tree and a gay rights flag, in essence).
The games center on a group of exercises that bulky men and women engage in, throwing various farm implements, some for distance, others for height. There are the obligatory bagpipes (who in his right mind invented those damn things?) and drums, old Scots with their twisted hiking sticks and caps with the pom-pon on top.
My pals with the Roanoke Vikings, including the irrepressible Jeff Rigdon, almost always show up (this year with a couple of beautiful–I mean, like Be-U-ti-ful–young women), as does my good friend Marj Easterling, selling T-shirts she’s designed and printed (she’s also a Buchanan, so we’re cousins) and showing off her tatooed feet.
This year, the food feature was Erik LaFontaine’s barbecue ribs and pulled pork nachos (I swear to god). Jeff owns The French German eatery, and judging from the ribs, his food would make me slobber uncontrollably.
Herewith, some of what it looked like.
Dan Smith is an award-winning journalist in Roanoke, Va., and a member of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. He is an author, photographer, essayist, father and grandfather. Co-founder of Valley Business FRONT magazine and founder of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference. On Advisory Board of New River Voice.