CLOVER — Athletes from five states converged in Clover on Saturday to throw toss cabers and eat haggis ground up sheep heart, liver and lungs served in a boiled sheep stomach with oatmeal and spices.
The sports, food and Irish dancing and music were part of Clovers 17th annual Feis Cholbhair Scotch-Irish Festival.
Some of the athletes, such as 40-year-old Jeff Crouch from Lenoir, N.C., have attended the local festival for more than a decade.
Crouch placed third in the hammer throwwhere men threw a 22-pound hammer similar to a shot-put more than 80 feet across the lawn in front of the Clover Memorial Stadium.
He also participated in the cabers toss a traditional Scottish game where athletes hurl a tree-like pole weighing more than 150 pounds.
Caber is the Gaelic word for tree.
Crouch, a third grade teacher, said the draw of Clovers event is the areas rich Scottish and Irish heritage.
He started power lifting weights more than ten years ago and converted his strength skills into throwing. Now, he attends at least ten games a year similar to the one on Saturday in Clover.
Scott Medlin, Crouchs trainer, said athletes came from Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia and other parts of South Carolina on Saturday.
The competition isnt cut throat, he said, but the athletes train hard.
Medlin, 57, from Catawba, N.C., was the athletic director for this years Clover games.
Many people such as himself, Medlin said, just stumble into the sports.
A friend will say, Why dont you try this and pretty soon, youre hooked.
The Clover festival also included music and dancing.
Children and teenagers from Charlottes Rince na h'Eireann School of Irish Dance performed on stage.
Vendors from neighboring states such as Lin Robinson from Shelby, N.C., also set up at the event.
He and his wife sold blades and blazons among a handful of other vendors selling traditional Scottish items and Celtic gear.
The Clover festival, he said, has a familial feel and allows people to connect with their heritage.
Robinson is part of the Clan Gunn a Highland Scottish clan.
A clan gathering and a heritage festival is like a family reunion, he said.
Its just a great time to come out and have a good day and see people and eat some exotic food like haggis.
Anna Douglas • 803-329-4068