Patrons can expect to be wowed this Saturday and Sunday by the U.S.-Canadian Irish Heavy Games Championship. The Championship will be a series of five different events that include the Braemar Stone, stone throw, 56-lb. weight for distance, Heavy HEAVY Hammer, 56-lb. weight over bar and caber Toss.
The events will be hosted and coordinated by Frank Stasa III, a competitor of the games since 1991, and Michigan Renaissance Festival Champion from 1999-2009. His start in the games was in 1991 when his father, who is an accomplished bagpiper, told him about the St. Andrews Games that were taking place the first Saturday in August. He competed that day taking third place overall.
Being the announcer and athletic director, Frank brings along all of the equipment for these behemoth athletes. He is so invested in the competition that he makes and collects all of the equipment himself. Frank has cut down over 25 trees in the Carleton and Irish Hills area for cabers — each one takes over 5 hours to make it throwable. The stones thrown during the competition are from the creek that runs behind his house in Carleton, MI.
Highland game competitions have been a staple at the Michigan Renaissance Festival since its opening in 1979. The games are a combination of modern strength competition and ancient gaming practices. The Irish Heavy Games Championships bring in competitors from across the globe to compete for the chance to claim the U.S.-Canadian Championship title. This is no ordinary athletic event competition. Imagine athletes as big as professional wrestlers throwing heavy objects!
After enjoying the exciting Highland Games, patrons can stroll through the Celtic Village that will feature special vendors — such as Irish clans, organizations and other local companies — unique to the Celtic culture. Patrons are invited to show off their best kilt in the Men in Kilts Competition or participate in the kids’ caber toss. All hearty eaters can test their appetite for Scottish fare in Great Scots! Eating Contest. Of course, the Celtic weekend would not be complete without Irish Dancers and the Flint Pipe and Drum Band.
Patrons should wear their kilt and come dressed in green as the weekend is dedicated to our friends across the pond in Ireland!
The Michigan Renaissance Festival is a first-class experience whose 40th season began on August 18 and ends on September 30. The Festival is open on weekends plus Friday, September 28 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. rain or shine. Admission at the gate: Adults $23.95; Children 5-12 $14.95; Ages 4 and under are free! Discount tickets are available at participating Kroger, Goodwill and Menards stores or online at www.MichRenFest.com. Free parking is provided by Randy Wise Automotive.
Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.