In communities first settled by Scottish Highlands, the first hint of autumnal freshness in the air is heralded by the melody of bagpipes and drums, the rhythm of ghillies pounding a wooden stage and the thud of a 17ft tree trunk hitting the ground after a flip in the air – music from the Highland Games.
Residents of neighboring Scotland are as familiar with these sounds as the name of their house suggests. And on Saturday, October 1, locals and visitors from across the country will revel in the return of the County of Scotland Highland Games to the grounds of the NC Rural Heritage Center – which includes the historic John Blue House, several Scottish-American properties. , a pre-war cotton gin and a general store. Together, the grounds and games provide an immersive look into the lives of some of the area’s early settlers and the Scottish-American experience.
Pop opens your camp chair for bagpipe and drum competitions, with musicians from across the region performing solo and in concert. Main stage musicians include acclaimed soloist Colin Grant-Adams; the Celtic trio focused on the Sound of Sleat pipe; high energy Celtic fusion group north of Argyll; and the fiddler duo The Glenco Lads.
Don’t miss the sophisticated footwork of sanctioned Highland dance competitions, featuring performers of all ages from across the United States
Watch the tartan parade, honoring the Scottish clans. Watch musicians show off their Scottish harp and violin skills, and demonstrate Gaelic singing at the Currie Cultural Village. Find a spot along the field fence to watch professional sheepdogs at work, with demonstrations throughout the day.
Skill test, track and field games are an opportunity for athletes to show off their strength and agility at events like the Turning of the Caber, which requires participants to throw a tree trunk or telephone pole varying in size from 17 to 21 feet. – vertically. Sanctioned athletes will also compete in events that include throwing a bundle of string at a raised bar with a pitchfork and throwing a hammer or stone for the distance.
With everything from haggis to burgers, no one who attends the Scottish County Highland Games will go hungry. Offers include items from Chick-fil-A and the local Krazy Kousins food truck; as well as meat pies and bridies from Camerons British Foods and Bakery, and a peat-smoked barbecue from The Scottish Cottage. Highland Brewing beer and Cypress Bend Vineyards wine will also be available for purchase.
The Cultural Village of Currie will host educational opportunities and introductions to less celebrated Gaelic traditions. Learn to speak or even sing a few words of Gaelic, learn more about traditional Scottish violin music and the Scottish harp, or Clarsach.
This year, all volunteers and vendors must either be vaccinated, take a temperature check, or show negative COVID results. COVID tests and vaccines will be available on site, hand hygiene stations will be plentiful and face coverings are mandatory inside and on the parking lot shuttle. Participants will need to pass a temperature control to enter. Tickets are $ 15 for adults, $ 5 for children – children 5 and under are free. Discounted tickets are available in advance.