North Carolina’s High Country offers festivals all year celebrating everything from mountain culture, music and crafts to Woolly Worms and moonshine.
Grandfather Mountain Highland Games
The Annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and Gathering of Scottish Clans brings the color of hundreds of tartan plaids and the clamor of hundreds of pipers and drummers to the North Carolina Highlands every second full weekend in July.
The Highland Games begin Thursday afternoon with a sheep dog demonstration, Celtic entertainment, the running of “The Bear,” and the opening ceremonies.
The opening ceremonies begin at dusk with a Torchlight Ceremony where representatives of each of the 85 clans announce their family’s participation in the gathering.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are filled with competition in heavy-weight Scottish athletic events; highland dancing competition; bagpipe band parades; piping, drumming and harp competitions; sheep herding demonstrations by Scottish border collies and concerts featuring a wide variety of Celtic music.
On Friday night, the Celtic Jam highlights traditional and contemporary Celtic music at MacRae Meadows and on Saturday night the Celtic Rock Concert serves up encore performances from some of the higher energy bands.
Adult tickets are $15 Thursday, $20 Friday, $30 Saturday and $15 Sunday (all days are $5 for children age 5-12, under age 5 is free). The tickets cover all activities in the meadows, which on Friday and Saturday last from early morning to midnight. Tickets are $5 each day for children ages 5-12 with children under five free. Tickets are available at the field on the day of the event. Four-day tickets are also available online at www.gmhg.org. Adult 4-day passes are $75 and children’s passes are $20. These 4-day passes now include shuttle bus service Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.