Locals don't need to go see "The Avengers" this weekend to watch telephone poles get chucked end-over-end, or see 300 pounds of weight carried with ease.
The real-life version will be in Costa Mesa, at the annual ScotsFest — a tribute to all things Scottish, and celebrated by thousands who are (or wish they were) Caledonian.
An opening ceremony featuring a mass of Scottish bands will begin at noon Saturday; closing ceremonies will be held both days starting at 5 p.m. In honor of Memorial Day, a memorial service honoring veterans is slated for 10 a.m. Sunday.
A daily Gathering of the Clans at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and 11:15 a.m. Sunday will feature a grand procession of the 70 participating clans. (Those who aren't Scottish can join Clan Inebriated, who are always happy to welcome new members.)
A favorite element of any Highland Games conclave is the heavy athletic games themselves, which include the caber toss; throwing the weight; the farmers' walk; putting the stone; and the hammer throw. The caber toss is perhaps the most famous; it requires competitors (including women) to lift a massive caber, similar to a telephone pole, and to toss it end-over-end, with the goal to have the caber land in a 12-o'clock position directly in front of the tosser. (Points aren't assigned for distance tossed, as is commonly thought, but for the proximity the pole lands to the 12-o'clock position; points are deducted for every degree off the mark.)