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

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

  1. Sad, but it’s happening everywhere on West Coast. I would like to be on your emailing list for future events. I was considering a booth to sell an abundance of Scottish and Irish items, books etc. maybe next year.

    1. Sharon McBride Ritelis

      It is sad but we are hopeful we will have our event in 2022! We currently do not have a email list. We do mail a brochure around the first of April to the folks on our mailing list. If you would like to provide I can add you to that. We do not share this list with anyone.

      In regards to vendors: Previous year merchandise vendors will receive participation packets at their email of record around the first of April. It is previous year merchandise vendors responsibility to inform the SSHGA of address changes. Closing date for merchandise vendors is July 1, 2021. Late applications may be accepted at double the fee, space permitting.

      New merchandise vendors will be considered (juried) on a case by case basis upon receipt of a letter of introduction which describes in words, photos, etc. your product(s) and how it fits into our Scottish theme event. Products that do not fit into our Scottish theme event will not be considered. The closing date to submit a letter of introduction for the 2022 event is June 1, 2022.

      Merchandise Vendor Committee
      PO Box 75685
      Seattle, WA 98175-0685

      Thank you!


  2. Hi,
    How do we get placed on the “Virtual Games” Vendor list? We were formerly Wandering Angus Celtic Traders out of Port Townsend, WA. We have been a vendor for years but never received our packet for 2020 or 2021 but this might have been due to the fact we changed our name when we changed our business location in town. We are now Celtic Crossroads NW (www.celticcrossroadsnw.com). Same family, same quality goods imported from Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Cornwall. We want to continue to be a part of these games.

    1. Sharon McBride Ritelis

      With the Games cancelled in 2020 and 2021 no packets were sent out. However, all vendors of record were sent an email to the address we had on file last year inviting them to participate. Perhaps it was sent to the Wandering Angus email? We do need folks to let us know changes and it does say that in the contract. Unless we are told, no way for us to know.

      For whatever reason, we are currently revamping the website to a new look so if you provide the website address you want added, FB address if you have one and the email you would like we will work on adding it.

      Sharon McBride Ritelis

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