Bagpipers take to the field during the Massed Pipe Bands event at the Glengarry Highland Games in Maxville, Ont., on Saturday, August 1, 2015. The two day event is one of the largest Highland Games in the world and features the North American Pipe Band Championship, Scottish heavyweight sports, highland dancing and the celebration of Scottish culture. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The popular Glengarry Highland Games are being postponed for another year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In an announcement on its website, organizers said they made the decision cancel the 2021 games, marking the second year in a row that the annual celebration of Celtic culture in eastern Ontario has been cancelled.

"I never thought we would have to make this decision two years in a row, but we do not have a choice. After much discussion, all are in agreement that this year's 2021 Games are not going to happen,” Games President Eric Metcalfe is quoted as saying.

Organizers said it was a difficult decision to cancel the 2020 games as the COVID-19 pandemic first began to tighten its grip in Canada. They said they were optimistic the games could return in 2021 but with vaccinations against COVID-19 not expected to ramp up until late in the summer, the possibility of hosting events this year became unrealistic.

"As everyone knows, vaccinations will still be rolling out over the summer and most likely mass immunity will not be reached that would allow for large groups to gather in August," organizers said. "Again this year, the Games is most disheartened to not be hosting one of the premier Highland Games in North America."

The Glengarry Highland Games are now scheduled for July 29 and 30, 2022.

"While we will not be seeing you in 2021, with optimism, we look to the future. As soon as we can we will be busy planning your return to our fairgrounds and excitedly look forward to hosting a reunion like only Glengarry can," said Metcalfe.

Organizers say they are working on ideas for celebrating the "spirit of the games in some fashion" this summer, with more announcements to come.