Let the games begin: The town of Clover will this weekend host its annual Feis Chlobhair, a Scots-Irish festival, with a new kickoff event Friday night at New Centre Park.
The Greater Clover Chamber of Commerce will host the new Friday night kick-off ceili – an Irish word for party – beginning at 7 p.m., featuring food, live music and a whiskey tasting.
Admission to the ceili is $15 adults and $10 children ages 5 to 12, which covers the food and music. There will be an additional fee for the whiskey tasting, beer and wine. Tickets are available at the chamber, 118 Bethel St.
Admission is free to Saturday’s festival, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the town park on Memorial Drive. Events include the Scottish heavy athletic competitions that have always been one of the core features of the festival, as well as a rugby tournament.
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The games, hosted by the Southeastern Highland Athletics Group, feature competitions that challenge athletes to “throw heavy things as far and high as you can.”
Highland Games have seven mandatory events. They are the open stone 16-pound throw, the caber toss, 56-pound weight for distance, 28-pound weight for distance, sheaf toss, hammer toss and the 56-pound weight over bar.
Athletes from across the Southeast are expected to compete.
The athletic competition will for the first time this year feature two new divisions: one for women and a masters division for men ages 40 and older, with the aim of growing the participation.
Last year, the festival was moved to New Centre Park from Memorial Stadium, and the festival portion of the day was pared down, although the heavy athletics went on as before.
However, town officials said they wanted this year to bring back some traditional festival events.
And they have. They include the border collie demonstrations during the day, a pipe and drum performance, food and craft vendors and a beer garden.
All of a Kind Band, a Clover musical group that was established in 2011 and specializes in rock, blues, pop and R&B music, will perform from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The athletic games are to begin at 9 a.m., with an opening ceremony at 10 a.m. and the closing ceremony at 3:30 p.m.
Jennifer Becknell • 803-329-4077