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Public response surprises Celtic festival organisers

Organizers are already planning for a bigger festival next year.

SASKATOON — Organizers of the Saskatoon Celtic Festival are now looking forward to next year after an overwhelming response from the public during Sunday’s cultural event held at the Crossmount Cider Company grounds. 

Karl Hren organized and trained the participants in the Highland Games. At the same time, Jayna Munson was part of a group that planned the festival, with Crossmount offering their grounds to host the event, which returned after a three-year hiatus. 

Participants tossed stones, metal balls, weights, a bundle of straws, and a large tapered pole of different sizes and heaviness to throw the items at the farthest distance. 

“It was a fantastic day. We were given such a good [public] response that we will return bigger and better next year. We had a few restraints on time and location, limiting what we could do,” said Hren. 

Munson thanked everyone who was involved in and supported the festival and, at the same time, echoed Hren’s comments as the massive success of Sunday’s event had the organizers beginning to plan for next year. 

“We are so grateful to the patrons, volunteers, athletes, and performers for participating in this fun day. We've already started making plans for next year. It can only get bigger and better from here with more performers, athletes, and food. We can't wait to celebrate our culture with you again next year,” said Munson. 

She added that they would be making a different parking plan for next year as it became an issue on Sunday due to the unexpected size of the crowd that joined the festivities. 

First-time Highland Games competitor Todd Lewis was named the overall winner at the end of all the events — stone put, Scottish hammer throw, weight throw, weight over the bar, sheaf toss, and caber toss. 

Hren said Lewis had just started training with them early this year, but his willingness to learn the techniques in each Highland Games event and his sheer strength had paid off. 

Despite not finishing in the top three, Liam Hingston was named the most valuable player. Indeed, he showed potential and excellent personal performance that made an impression on the other competitors. 

“After having such a success, next year we will be able to put on a complete Highland Games with more strength challenges,” ended Hren.

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