PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - The 15th Annual Panama City Scottish Festival and Highland Games took place at Frank Brown Park this weekend.
The event included traditional Scottish music and bagpipes, old world food, and iconic games, such as the caber toss.
The caber toss is a staple at the festival, but for the past 24 years - it was a man's game.
"The athletic director, who's in charge of the event today, said that he had so many people contact him to see if women were going to compete that he ultimately felt like he had to since there was so much interest. I had contacted him initially, and he had said no. Then, I got a message back just a few weeks later saying, 'Yes, we're going to open it up to women,'" said caber toss competitor Denise Boyd.
Eight women participated in the iconic Scottish game on Saturday. Boyd says the event has allowed her to meet other locals who share her interest.
"To be able to come to a close event and meet people who are in this area who do Scottish Highland Games, as well, is huge," said Boyd.
Tossing a caber - or full length log - is no easy feat. But, Boyd says that it is one that can be accomplished by people of all ages.
"I started doing Scottish Highland activity games in October 2016, and it's primarily because I thought that seeing what other women were doing at all age ranges was amazing to me, as well as the men. We typically see athletes from eighteen to in their sixties," said Boyd.
Boyd says that it's the people she has met that make it all worthwhile.
"We all have Facebook pages. There's groups that get together and train together. When we go to activities and we actually meet and see each other, it's like homecoming weekend type thing. The community really makes it worth it," said Boyd.
Festival president Joyce Oakley says that adding a female division is just another step towards making the festival bigger and better.
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