Tyler Highland Games

Okay, I’m a little behind on my photo editing, but wanted to share these. Near the end of October was held the Tyler Scottish Festival and Highland Games. Having never been to one, and always admiring men willing to wear a kilt in public, we packed up the cameras and headed over. There were multiple tents for vendors selling their wares, as well as Scottish music and games. As you’ll see, the games were not limited to only men.

When we got there, the games were already underway, but we got to watch a couple of weight toss and caber toss events which I found interesting.

First up were the 56lb and 28lb weight toss events. This was kind of like a discus throw, but with a weight which has a handle attached. The participant spins in a circle to gather momentum, and then lets it fly. These guys and gals were pretty impressive with their strength, as well as their ability to not let it fly in the wrong direction and injure those behind them.





The one I really found interesting was the caber toss. I had see this before, but never understood what the rules were, until now. The purpose is to toss the large pole, have it flip end over end, and then you are judged on how straight it lands to where it was thrown. While it looks easy, apparently it is not. Of course the biggest hurdle is first picking up the rather long pole and balancing it before you actually try to flip it. This was very impressive.


This guy actually accomplished the feat! I think the yelling at the pole actually pushed it over the edge and got it flipped.




The parade of the clans was quite a site. They paraded around the area being led by the piper to the traditional song you usually hear on bagpipes. All the clans and their colors (tartans) were on display. Each clan had their own tent where you could learn some history of the clan and even see if maybe you were a descendant from them.


And of course, what sort of festival would it be if there wasn’t music? This is the Reel Treble Band, hard at work entertaining the crowd.

I didn’t get to stick around as long as I would have liked, but thoroughly enjoyed everything we saw. Next year I’ll plan a full day and see and learn even more!

Until next time…

Henderson Texas Syrup Festival

Every year in Henderson Texas, they hold a syrup festival. Last year we missed going, having just moved here, but this year we decided we wanted to know what this was all about, so we got up on Saturday morning and went, wondering what kind of festival could they design around syrup.

Well, it didn’t appear that anyone else had any doubt that it would be a blast because it looked like the entire town of Henderson turned out.  And while downtown was full of antique cars, we were headed to the depot museum where the main festival was taking place.

When we got there we found that they were having a classic tractor rally too. Old tractors of every make and model were present.

An old International Harvester appears to be having a good time, grinning through its grill.


And of course, you can’t have a tractor show without the old green and yellow making an appearance. This is a 1948 Model M and looks like it still runs.


Along with the farm tractors was also a 1928 American LaFrance tractor that was used as a fire truck.


They even allowed the little ones enjoy the driver’s seat so a good time was had by all.


Next to this was a old hay bailing machine and two guys showing how it works.


Of course, by the time I got around to taking their picture, they were done with the bailing and were just sitting back and taking a break. The old machines certainly don’t look like they were as easy a job as the new ones. We have it so good today.


But where is the syrup? Finally we get to the part where they are showing how it is made. They take cane sugar and using a press operated by a mule, squeeze the juice and pulp out of it into a big barrel.


Next, that goes into a big vat where it is heated and cooked down to the desired consistency. That looked like a hot job. You can see the steam coming up from the juice as the lady stirs it.


Okay, that question was answered. And of course there were plenty of booths where you could actually buy some of the syrup. But they have other artisans here showing how they apply their craft. There were a couple of blacksmiths.



A couple of broom makers…


Funny story here. While watching them work I heard a man in the audience say “My wife wants to know how high they will fly.” He was a pretty tall dude, but she still managed to put her boot up side his butt! Color me impressed.


And even a couple of ladies spinning yarn.


It was also nice to see that these ladies were interacting with young members of the audience letting them get up close and see how the machinery actually work.

And of course, what would be a festival without some good folk/gospel music from live bands?


As we were leaving we passed by a Native American exhibit with a teepee and a young man in character, showing other young ones how to play the ceremonial drum.


All in all, it was a good time. Plenty to eat (I had some of the best BBQ brisket I’ve had since moving here) and of course there were rides and plenty to keep the young ones entertained.

This was the 27th annual festival. Now I can’t wait for the 28th.

All photos copyright 2015 Michael Hampton/MHampton Photography