A word to those willing to read this from the President of the SSHGA on the cancellation of the 2021 Games:

The Pacific Northwest Scottish Highland Games and Clan Gathering is a completely volunteer run, very large undertaking that takes a lot of hard work, dedication and love of Scottish culture to put on every year. It’s all done by people who use their free time to put on a very big event. The games also require that many, many, many disparate parts all fall into place each year in order to not only happen at all but to happen in such a way that the games can bring in enough funds to enable our association to put on these games year after year. To put it simply, putting on a games the size of ours is extremely time/labor intensive and expensive.

Having negative CoVid related impacts on so many aspects of our lives here in Washington State have forced us to make the difficult decision two years in a row now to cancel our games not only for safety reasons but for financial as well. This decision isn’t an easy one and I understand that people are disappointed that this is happening again. We are disappointed as well. But we, as an association have to take into account the long term viability of the association and the games specifically since that is why our association exists. We also have to make our decision now to give those that need to plan for vacation, hotel bookings, etc the opportunity to know in advance. If we strung everyone out and then had to cancel later, it would be a disservice to everyone.

Those of you who have been to our games know that in a good year, we can pack the fairgrounds in Enumclaw and have had over 20,000 attendees many times. But with state mandated crowd size restrictions, being limited to even 9,000 people would cause us to lose far too much money. Many people who would normally come would not out of an abundance of caution due to the recency of the pandemic. We wouldn’t be around much longer and our region would lose yet another highland games.

Couple crowd size restrictions/reduced attendance with the following: -mask mandates -distancing requirements-drastically increased sanitation and sterilization requirements-Insurance liabilities related to potential CoVid exposure at our event

Add in the fact that pipe bands and dancers have had difficulties or been completely unable to practice together in person for over a year. The border with Canada is still closed to non-essential travel and a large portion of our attendees and pipe/drum/dancer competitors come across that border in a normal year.

This is all to say, I understand disappointment in this decision. I can honestly say that I want everything to go back to normal as well. Not a single one of our volunteers who puts this on is happy with the cancellation but we feel it is the best choice when factoring in the long term viability of our games and the safety of everyone involved.

For those who have taken the announcement as an opportunity to express disgust, made snide comments toward our volunteers who put this announcement out there, and made this political, feel free to take your opinions elsewhere as the people who have been working on our games are all volunteers and don’t need your bs.

To those of you who have expressed understanding and support for our decision, thank you. For those who have expressed disappointment, I’m right there with you and I hope you’ll join us next year in 2022. Be kind to one another, we’re all in this together.

Colin Mathieson