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Scottish terrier dressed for Highland Games
Scottish terrier dressed for the Highland Games, 1997. Photo: Eric Dusenbery

Dunedin Highland Games and Festival

Florida's largest and oldest continuous Highland Games are held each April in Dunedin, a Gulf Coast city. For one week, the whole city is Scottish with dancing, games, and authentic Scottish food. The town was chartered in 1898, and took its name from the original Gaelic designation for Edinburgh. Early in Dunedin's history, Dunedin became one of the state's chief seaport and trading centers, and, at one time, it had the largest fleet of sailing vessels in Florida.

Many Scottish settlers in America brought their traditions and lore with them. Soon Highland Games were being staged all over the United States. Dunedin joined the ranks of this prestigious group in 1966. Today the festival has grown to include the Florida Open Dance Championship, the Hiram Walker Florida Pipe Band Championship, and the U.S. National Masters Athletic Competition attracting athletes from all over the United States.

The Dunedin festival feature competitions in piping, dancing, drumming, and in "tests of strength" games, which include caber tossing, weight throwing, hammer throwing, and shot putting. Winners go on to compete at state, regional, national and international games. World championships are held in Scotland. A military tattoo, which includes several pipe bands from the local schools, is also part of the festivities, as well as Scottish storytelling and sheepdog demonstrations.

Documentation includes articles, two games and festival programs, and slides.

Originally submitted by: Michael Bilirakis, Representative (9th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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