Highland Games were a hoot
The Highland Games at Grandfather Mountain, held July 12 to 15, were tons of fun and a feast for the eyes and ears. It's a popular summer festival, that attracts many visitors from Haywood County and the surrounding areas. And, it celebrates "all things Scottish."
The pageantry was colorful, and the bagpipe bands in good form. My husband, Paul, and I went with friends from Florida, who spend part of the summer in Blowing Rock. We enjoyed all of it, except the downpour of rain, but that's par for the course on a summer afternoon, isn't it?
We attended the Scottish worship service Sunday morning, and listened to Waynesville's Flora MacDonald Gammon, director of music for the GMHG, lead the group in a hymn and the Rev. Douglas Kelly, GMHG chaplain, read Scripture and conduct the service. The Kirkin 'O the Tartans was performed by the Montreat Scottish Pipes and Drums, and included a colorful parade of the U.S. colors and flags representing tartans of many Scottish clans.
Then it was time to park our lawn chairs at the track for the day's festivities, and wander around to hear music in the groves and visit the hospitality tents hosted by clans from Buchanan to Henderson, Gregor, MacRae and Young. The music was rockin' with the Celtic Rock band, Uncle Hamish & the Hooligans, from Asheville. The group will be performing at Waynesville's International Festival Day at noon and 3 p.m. Saturday, July 21. Try to see them — even the bagpiper rocks.
From our lawn chair seating, we watched sheep and duck herding (those dogs are good at what they do), Scottish heavy athletics (including the caber toss, a large wooden pole typically 19 feet-6 inches tall, weighing 175 pounds), lots of fiddling, children's track racing events and the eye-catching Parade of the Tartans, led by several bagpipe and drum bands, and followed by representatives of all the clans attending the event — all clad in their clan tartan kilts and apparel. Got to love those men in kilts.
Scottish food was plentiful. I loved the shepherd's pie, and my favorite T-shirt summed up the happy atmosphere — "If it weren't for Scotland, there would be no Scotch."
The event is held annually in July. If you haven't been, you will have a great time next year.