More than 200 athletes gathered on the St. F.X. campus in Antigonish Friday (May 24) for the 2019 Eastern Highlands Special Olympics regional competition.
Twenty-three teams, from five counties in northeastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, participated.
"We keep growing, which is wonderful," Joan Conrad, Eastern Highlands Special Olympics' co-ordinator, said of the ongoing increase in athlete participation.
Some of the athletes who showed their talents, in everything from bocce to track and field, will represent the region at the 2019 Special Olympics Nova Scotia Summer Games later this year on the Acadia University campus in Wolfville.
The opening ceremonies featured an athletes' parade - one led by Scott Williams (piper), Jamie Ross (drummer and track athlete) and Knights of Columbus members - and torch bearers John Pellerin and athlete Lauchlin Delorey.
Kristina Richard, a member of Team Canada at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games and the Antigonish CACL squad, led everyone in the traditional athletes' oath.
"It is such a special day," Town of Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher, one of the speakers during the opening, said.
She and others also credited the athletes for their dedication, along with the coaches and volunteers for their efforts.
"Everyone is a winner today," Paul Landry, Strait Regional Centre for Education executive director, said, while reminding the athletes to have fun and enjoy the day of competition.
The Knights provided lunch for the athletes, coach and volunteers, along with providing their traditional salute during ribbon presentations.