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Greg Henrikson of The Historic Recrudescence Guild beckons attendees to spectate a sword fighting competition at the 2022 Alaska Scottish Highland Games.
A performer plays the bagpipe across the Alaska State Fairgrounds.
The Parley Food Trailer features a special Scottish menu during the Alaska Scottish Highland Games.
Greg Henrikson of The Historic Recrudescence Guild beckons attendees to spectate a sword fighting competition at the 2022 Alaska Scottish Highland Games.
A performer plays the bagpipe across the Alaska State Fairgrounds.
The Parley Food Trailer features a special Scottish menu during the Alaska Scottish Highland Games.

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PALMER — People from across the state and beyond cycled through the 2022 Alaska Scottish Highland Games at the Alaska State Fairgrounds.
This two-day event celebrating Scottish and Celtic culture featured traditional athletic competitions, live music and dance demonstrations, a variety of vendors, and numerous activities for all ages.
“It was a great day. Lots of smiles, lots of people enjoying the Scottish culture for sure,” McDaniel said.
While there are several vendors that don’t literally line up with the Scottish and Celtic theme, many of the booths incorporated elements of the culture whether it was adding Scottish food items to a food truck menu, wearing traditional Scottish attire such as kilts, or offering historic information and wares.
The Alaskan Scottish Club gives out awards to vendors for showcasing their Scottish Flair each year.
“We’re not just another fair or festival. We’re a Scottish festival,” McDaniel said.
Greg Henrikson is the “Town Scribe” for The Historic Recrudescence Guild. He said their group has been a part of the Highland Games for many years.
“I think we bring some history to it, “ Henrikson said.
HRG sets up an entire village each year at the Renaissance Fair in Anchorage.
“What we’re doing here is trying to bring aspects of medieval life,” Henderson said. “I love this stuff. It’s endlessly interesting.”
Each year, HRG sets up a condensed version of their village into a historic alleyway at the Highland Games. Henrickson said their historic sword fighting with period-appropriate armor is always a crowd favorite.
“The kids love us,’” Henrikson said.
It’s thought that the traditional Highland Games originated from the great gatherings and fairs held by Scottish Highland clans since the medieval times with clans competing against each other in feats of strength and skill.
Henrikson said they carry a variety of items that reflect this time period while offering historical facts and trivia to attendees. He said that disputes during medieval times in Scotland often ended with bloodshed. He said the people of that era had shorter life expectancies and endured many hardships many in this day and age will never have to face.
“It was a brutal world,” Henrikson said. “The big lesson is not to be too comfortable in our modern arrogance.”
Henrikson said that he loves being a part of the Highland Games. He said their group is a seamless fit to the overall theme of the festival and they plan to continue growing their historic area each year.
“We’ve always had a great relationship with the games. We’re always looking to do more,” Henrikson said.
McDaniel said that she’s encouraged by the growing amount of interest and participation at the Highland Games. She said there’s so much going on during this annual festival that they ultimately decided to expand it to a two-day event.
“At this point, we can’t go back to one day,” McDaniel said.
The Highland Games athletic competitions test both skill and strength in traditional events such as the caber toss and sheaf toss.
The Alaska Scottish Highland Games also feature a uniquely Alaskan event called the Salmon Toss. McDaniel said that event continues to grow in popularity each year.
McDaniel said the Alaskan Scottish Club aims to continue expanding the Highland Games over the years, incorporating new events and bringing more elements of Scottish culture to the state. She said that her favorite aspect of being a part of the process is seeing the joy this event brings other people.
“I think that’s why I’m hooked on it,” McDaniel said. “I really love the games and it’s really great to share that love with Alaska,” McDaniel said.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com
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