News Releases - Sports & Recreation
Written by Lori Blackburn   
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 15:54
We want you for our traditional Gaelic heaving, lifting and tossing competitions.
WATERLOO, Iowa—Iowa Irish Fest is hosting the Highland Games on Friday and Saturday, August 1-2, in Waterloo’s Lincoln Park. A demonstration will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday and the competition will be held from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday.
Traditional Gaelic games include heavy and light athletics. Heavy athletics are events in which participants must lift, heave, toss or throw objects, while light athletics are typically running and jumping events.
“I think it’s really important to keep traditions like the Highland Games going,” said Jennifer Cain, Iowa Irish Fest Highland Games committee chair. “We almost lost these ancient traditions, so it’s great to see these events are still going strong, not just at Iowa Irish Fest and in Iowa, but across the nation.”
At Iowa Irish Fest, the Highland Games are centered on the heavy athletic events. This year’s Highland Games will include:
  • Clachneart—Also referred to as the stone of strength, this is a stone weighing 16 to 22 pounds. Throwers run seven-and-a-half feet up to a toe board to throw the Clachneart like a shot put.
  • Braemar Stone—This event is similar to the Clachneart except the stone weighs between 22 and 30 pounds and is thrown from a standing position.
  • Weight Throws—Contestants throw a heavy and light metal implement for distance. The implements weigh 56 and 28 pounds, respectively, and arethrown from behind a toe board with one hand.
  • Sheaf Toss—A hay fork is used to toss a sheaf, (or burlap bag of twine) for height. The sheaf weighs between 16 and 20 pounds and can be launched more than 30 feet in the air.
  • Weight Over Bar—Also called the Test of Champions, contestants must toss a 56 pound weight for height.
  • Caber Toss—The caber is a tapered, 15-20 foot pole that weighs between 90 and 140 pounds. Contestants hold the pole upright before tossing it end-over-end for accuracy.
  • Irish Super Heavy Two-Handed Stone Throw—This event requires male contestants to lift a 112 pound stone and run a short distance with the stone held at chest height or above the head. The stone is heaved forward with both hands at the end of the running distance. For women, the stone is 56 pounds.
Contestants must wear a kilt to compete, and event winners will each receive a trophy. There will also be light-weight versions of the Highland Games for children to learn more about the events and practice their skills.
Entrants can register at Registration will be limited to two sections of competitors.
The annual Iowa Irish Fest is put on by the Cedar Valley Irish Cultural Association, an organization intended to foster and develop Irish fellowship and outreach into the community with Irish cultural events and programs. Iowa Irish Fest will be held on August 1-3, 2014. Admission to the fest is just $15 for all three days, and children 12 and under are free. For more information or to volunteer, visit

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