Charlotte, North Carolina
March 9, 2006
Be ye Scot or not, all are welcome at the Highland Games. Usually held mid-April, this 3-day event will celebrate its 13th year in 2006. It is held on the grounds of the historic Rural Hill Farms. There are a number of games held through the state, but this is the second largest gathering of the clans. Only Grandfather Mountain has a larger gathering.
The event hosts a number of ceremonies, contests, and demonstrations. The first night is a more proper affair with a Calling ‘o the Clans, dinner, and Scottish dance. Day two starts off with Scottish athletic competitions, classes, competitions in the Pipe Band, Highland Dancing, and Celtic music. The evening tops off with an awards ceremony and dinner.
My friend Karen and I attended last year’s event, and we were only able to attend the Sunday events. The day started off in the cemetery, where a church service was held that morning. It was followed by the Kirking of the Tartans. This is just simply where each clan representative brings their family flag and presents them. Afterwards we headed over to the event grounds and enjoyed a harp demonstration, shopping, Highland dance teams, and petting some of the animals found on the farm. At noon was the most anticipated events of the day—the Parade of Tartans. More than two dozens bands from all over the South marched by. Everyone was thrilled and cheering for his or her family clan affiliation. Afterwards came the event every culture enjoys—food! We headed straight for the BBQ tent.
Karen and I then enjoyed more music, dancing, athletics, and shopping. We also enjoyed Dr. Ben Roy Ousley D.V.M. and his border collie demonstration. Judging by the size of the crowd, it was one of the most well-liked events. Dr. Ousley and his dogs demonstrated how the dogs are used on farms. They seem to take great pride in keeping the herds in check. I think my Jazzy was one in a former life, since she enjoys rounding the cats up.
Last year's admission was $15, and that was for the whole weekend, even if you only attended 1 day. Parking is $4 and the money goes to charity. They do have ATMs and porta-pottys on the grounds. I would suggest stashing some handy wipes in you’re purse or bag. They have food vendors and plenty of shops offering all kinds of Celtic wonders. There are also clan tents if you would like to join your family’s affiliation.
The games are a great source of pride for those of us whose blood runs tartan. This is a great event to bring the whole family to. Scottish or not, all are welcome. For more information, please go to www.ruralhillfarm.org.
From journal Come… Have Fun in NC