Although the Comox Valley Highland Games have ceased, organizers hope to hold a scaled-down event this year.
During the Victoria Day weekend at Lewis Park, the 18-year event featured highland dancing, caber and hammer tossing, and piping and drumming bands from Western Canada and parts of the U.S.
The Westie Walk was another popular attraction, especially with dog lovers.
In a news release, the executive says it is “facing more and more adversity each year,” unable in the future to “fully present our games as we have in the past.”
The Comox Valley Highland Games Society had supported the event through fundraising, sponsorships, advertisers, vendors and the paying public. It extends a big thanks to loyal volunteers who came out rain or shine.
“I think it was getting harder and harder for the organizers,” said George Macfarlane, former president of the the Comox Valley Celtic Club. “It was quite a big production. I think it was an asset.”
Courtenay Mayor Larry Jangula enjoyed the several years he spent working at the Knights of Columbus food booth during the Games.
“It’s very disappointing news,” said Jangula, recalling the number of overseas patrons who attended.
“It’s a wonderful event because it’s a very, very pro-family event. It brings much-needed entertainment and revenue to our downtown merchants and to our hotel keepers and restaurants. It’s very, very sad that this situation has come to this end.”
The BC Pipers’ Association is also saddened by the news.
“For many years, large numbers of pipers, drummers and pipe bands travelled to the Island to compete at and enjoy the Comox Valley Highland Games, and the BCPA supported and promoted the highland games,” president Rob MacNeil said by e-mail.
Macfarlane hopes another group of people will “get energized” and bring the Games back to Lewis Park.
“Hopefully it will come back,” he said.
All might not be lost, as the society hopes to continue with a dance competition on the Saturday of the May long weekend. This will be confirmed at the beginning of March.