The Waimate Caledonian Society is gearing up for the 142nd edition of its Caledonian Games at Victoria Park this weekend.
Waimate Caledonian society secretary Bernie Blackgrove said this year’s games would include highland dancing, cycling and speed skating, while other events included the caber toss and solo piping.
Mrs Blackgrove said she was both excited and proud Waimate would be hosting what she thought the longest-running Caledonian Games in the country.
Preparatoin for the event had been a “logistical nightmare” for a team of 12 volunteers.
Mrs Blackgrove began preparing for the event when she started hunting for sponsors in November.
Speed skating guru Bill Begg said familiar faces from the sport would be racing at the games.
The field would include New Zealand’s two fastest sprinters, Dale Christofferson and Leah McDonald.
Several other New Zealand champions, including world junior representative Ariana Snook and intermediate skater Charlotte Clarke, would also be present.
Mr Begg thought people’s interest would center on new skaters Emily Thompson, and her sister Jody Thompson, who will become the second Waimate skater to represent New Zealand at the Oceania championships.
Mr Begg said the Waimate event was “unique and innovative” because of the short tri-skate course held on the 400m track.
Mrs Blackgrove was not sure exactly how many people would turn out for the Caledonian Games, but she was confident a reasonable crowd of competitors and spectators would gather at Victoria Park.
Children’s athletics would start the day at 9.30am, and the event would wrap up at about 5.30pm.
The first Waimate Caledonian Games were held in 1875, and the games have been held every year since.
The Waimate Caledonian Society was one of the few societies not to cancel its event during the war years.
Mrs Blackgrove said it was important the society continued to hold the games for many more years in the future.