The festival in Brunswick included dancing, games, crafts and music.

BRUNSWICK (AP) – Thousands of Scottish descendants from Maine celebrated their heritage Saturday at the annual Highland Games and Scottish Festival at Thomas Point beach.

Macbeans, Macdougals, and and Macduffs mixed with other Scottish surnames at the 25th anniversary of the event, sponsored by the St. Andrew’s Society of Maine.

Scots nationwide take their festivals so seriously that they schedule them in various states so as not to conflict with each other. “Ours is always the third Saturday each August, and if it rains, we miss a year,” said Roger Murray of South Portland, society treasurer.

The Scots have made a rule that no two such festivals within 300 miles can be held on the same day.

The festival includes Highland and Scottish dancing, clan and society tents, bagpipes, athletic games, arts, crafts and folk singing and is designed to promote Scottish heritage and raise money for scholarships for those studying Scottish culture and history.

Games of agility and strength have been practiced in the Scottish Highlands since the early 1800s. The games today often include the traditional stone and hammer throwing, caber tossing, piping and dancing, along with running and jumping events.

Clyde Nicholson, 74, of Winthrop, attends the games each summer, wearing his kilt without fail.

“My kids thought the old man should have a kilt, so I bought one,” Nicholson laughed. “And it wasn’t cheap. I think it cost me $595.”

The St. Andrew’s Society of Maine’s games, which attract an estimated 6,500 people each year, are promoted as the largest single-day Scottish games in the Northeast. For the first time, this year’s games featured bagpipe competition among several bands.

The Maine society, which now has some 800 members, was established in Newcastle in 1979.

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