Rotary has a bit of history at the local Highland Games


LAURINBURG – Just 10 days before the annual Scottish County Highland Games weekend kicks off, the local Rotary club got an overview of the event and a brief update on what can happen. wait for the participants in the event.

First, Rotarian Beacham McDougald gave the club some facts about the County of Scotland’s involvement in the Highland Games.

“The very first, we believe, was called Scotch Fair and it was held in the late 1780s near present-day Old Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church,” he said. “It lasted until 1878 when the state legislature banned the Games – because people started coming for two reasons: to drink and to fight. “

McDougald went on to say that about 98 years later, in 1976, the Highland Games started at Flora MacDonald in Red Springs, where they were held until 2007.

That’s when Bill Caudill and McDougald started talking about bringing the Games to Scotland County – and it became a reality in 2009.

According to Philip McRae, an active organizer of the Games here, the group was incorporated under the name Scotch Fair.

“It was inappropriate and had a negative and uneducated connotation,” he said. “So we looked for another name and finally decided on the Scotland County Highland Games. “

The local Games would already be locked in the first weekend of October, since they would resume the old date belonging to Flora MacDonald’s event. But then you had to choose a site.

“We looked at John Blue’s site and decided on an area nearby,” McRae said. “We knew we were going to have bagpipes, dancing, vendors, and sporting events, and we knew the initial area wouldn’t be big enough.”

Thus, additional land has been found nearby, cleared and can now accommodate a main playground, parking and more.

McRae also explained how the Games work.

“There are seven competitions in what is called the ‘Scottish Heave Athletic Games’, and they are divided into four divisions – amateur, professional, senior and women,” he said. “I think the women’s competitions are some of the most interesting and fun, but they’re all pretty competitive. It is serious business for some of them.

McRae said an average Scottish County Highland Games event will have eight to ten bagpipe groups, but this year there will be 20. He also said there will be a number of bagpipe teams. competitive dancing and many types of food.

“We are really looking forward to the event this year – even with the concerns related to COVID, we felt the odds were in our favor for a successful event,” he said.

During the event, masks will be mandatory and temperatures will be taken before participants are allowed to enter.

The weekend kicks off on Friday October 1 with the annual whiskey tasting at Brick + Mortar in downtown Laurinburg, which is already sold out, continues with the Highland Games on Saturday October 2 and concludes with a special service. at Old Presbyterian Church in Laurel Hill on Sundays.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-506-3023 or [email protected]

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Jennifer R. Strohm

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