The Inverness Highland Games Weekend started with the Inverness Wheelbarrow Grand Prix on Friday evening in the High Street;

where an estimated 2000 spectators gathered to enjoy performances by the City of Inverness Pipe Band; Fraser School of Highland Dancing the Inverness Branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Association. before parading across Ness Bridge to Northern Meeting Park to enjoy the 2018 Highlands Strongest Man and Strongest Woman Championships organised by the Forge Gym. Despite the torrential rain, the crowd where treated to a really exciting evening of intense competition. Nicki Innes won the Strongest Woman's title and Jamie Gorrian was victorious in the men's event.

For many spectators, the Heavy events at the Inverness Highland Games are one of the highlights of their trip to Scotland; and a huge crowd estimated to be in the region of 9000 arrived to enjoy the show. After a day of wonderful competition Jamie Gunn was crowned Champion after being pushed all day by US Athlete John Odden of the USA.

Throughout the day the crowd were entertained by film crews behind the US Discovery Channel's "Expedition Unknown" and the Italian TV Show "The Alternative Olympics" as their presenters Josh Gates and Matteo Nicoletta enjoyed a crash course in becoming a Highland Heavy with Nicoletta managing to win a medal from Provost Helen Carmichael for being the worst dancer in the history of the Opening Ceremony's Mass Highland Fling after a review by the Video Referee that the Highland Games Committee assured him was in operation.

The Opening Ceremony’s Mass Highland Fling featured over 400 participants and was the largest in ever seen at the Games; and featured a number of locals who were taking part to raise funds for 3 year old Sam Douglas who requires specialist medical care.

The biggest addition to the 2018 programme was the “Show and Shine Inverness” car show organised by 2K Custom which featured over 100 cars and attracted hundreds of additional spectators to Bught Park. Also new for 2018 was the introduction a series of races for the Under 5’s scheduled to take place at around 12:30; and one of the loudest cheers of the day went to a wee fellow who decided to keep on running after winning the 400m race and was too quick for the adults who were chasing after to him to let him know that he should stop.

Games Chieftain Provost Helen Carmichael said “Our Games Weekend has been a great success thanks to the tremendous support that we have received from all sections of our community in the months leading up to the show. We have been delighted to welcome visitors from all over the world and once again our Games has delivered a much appreciated and significant boost to our city’s profile and economy.”

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There was a lot of excitement generated when the names of the three great bands who would be appearing at our Hogmanay Gathering; and we are pleased to report that the 2017 Red Hot Highland Fling more than lived up to the weeks of anticipation that preceded it.

Opening the show in Northern Meeting Park Arena were Hò-rò; who were winners of the “Danny Kyle award” at Celtic Connections; and quickly showed 12,000 delighted Highland Flingers from all over Scotland and beyond why they are amongst the most popular new bands on the European music festival scene.

Hò-rò were followed by two former winners of the prestigious “Scottish Traditional Music Live Band of the Year Award”; with Skipinnish given the honour of headlining the show in the prestigious middle position; which is a tradition that is unique to our show; and enables as many youngsters as possible to see the headline act perform.

Closing the show, and making sure that the music paused just in time for a spectacular fireworks display at midnight were Skerryvore. A firm favourite with the Inverness crowd; Skerryvore are one of the few bands in the world that organises its own annual music festival, Oban Live, which now attracts over 10,000 visitors each year.

The show was hosted by Comedian Craig Hill who had travelled the world en route to Inverness with his sell out show Someone’s gonna get kilt!”.

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The Countdown to Christmas gets underway in Inverness on Sunday November 19th as Santa arrived to help Provost Helen Carmichael turn on the city’s dazzling display of Christmas Lights.

Families gathered at Crown Primary School at 5.15pm on the night to take part in the Christmas Torchlight Procession to the Town House with the Provost and Santa and host Nicola McAlley of STV.

This year’s parade was led by the combined City of Inverness Senior and Youth Pipe Bands in suitable Christmas attire and featured a number of costumed characters and stiltwalkers.

The Parade ended outside Inverness Town House where there was a surprise in store for everybody when the building unexpectedly burst into light.

The marchers then followed Santa the Old High Church for the annual Christmas Carol Service - Ding Dong Merrily Old High which featured a number of much loved traditional favourites performed by the Joint choir from St Stephen's and the Old High churches.

Councillor Bet McAllister of the Inverness Events and Festivals Working Group said: “Our Christmas Lights Switch On event is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the year for the younger members of our community and it was great to seeing the excitement in their eyes. There is always something magical about the moment when they get their first glimpse of Santa Claus as he arrives to help the Provost turn on our Christmas Lights.“

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An estimated 20,000 spectators gathered on the banks of the River Ness on Saturday 4th November as the Highland Council's annual Display took place in Bught Park.

After enjoying performances by the City of Inverness Youth Pipe Band and the Fly Agaric Firestormers Display Team; the crowd cheered loudly when Provost Helen Carmichael stepped forward to light the giant 50 foot high bonfire, which quickly roared into life to everyone's delight.

After a short delay to enable the Fireworx Scotland Display Team to make some last minute adjustments as the gusts of wind increased in strength across the field; the spectacular 20 minute display under a full moon was enjoyed by all.

Afterwards Councillor Trish Robertson of the Inverness Events and Festivals Working Group thanked the thousands of spectators who had answered the Council's call to park well away from the site and walk to the event. "The support of the drivers bringing families to the show played a major role in keeping the traffic congestion to a minimum on the night and was greatly appreciated. "

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If you are attending our bonfire display on Saturday November 4th don't forget to use the city centre car parks and allow yourself extra time to walk to the site.

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REVIEW 2017 Halloween Show  
With over 20,000 visitors over the two nights our 2017 Halloween Show got this year's Winter Festival off to a great start. Our friends at Eden Court Creative, Arts in Motion and Limelight Event Services did a great job bringing the UNDERWORLD!to life.

Big thank you to all the folk who remembered that parking around Bught Park was very limited and helped us by using one of the 2800 plus spaces which are available in the City Centre and walked along to the show.

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