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This year’s annual Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival is taking place at the Townsend Visitor’s Center in, you guessed it, Townsend, TN, on the main road on May 20th and May 21st. The Smoky Mountains have a large presence of Celtic, Irish and Scottish communities that have been here for hundreds of years, so a celebration of Scottish highlander culture in the Tennessee highlands goes together like a black bear and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!
Here’s what the official website writes about the Scottish Festival and Games:
“Scotland in the Smokies is calling you!!! Celebrating its 41st year, the Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games is Tennessee’s oldest festival of Scottish, Irish and Celtic culture. Presenting folk, roots, rock & pop music, highland athletics, pipes & drums, highland and Irish dance. Whisky tastings, vendors and a great selection of beer and food from the Scottish, Irish and British homelands. Enjoy a weekend of family fun in the beautiful foothills of Townsend, Tennessee, just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Marvel over the feats of strength in this sporting spectacle of champions. Scottish heavy athletics owe their roots to the Highland warriors who would keep in shape between battles by competing amongst themselves with everyday implements. A stone, a blacksmith’s hammer, a tree trunk (caber) became tools for building strength for battle.
Piping & Drumming
Enjoy bag piping and drumming throughout the weekend during competitions that bring players from all over the world to compete in different levels ranging from beginners to professionals.
Scottish Highland Dancing is an exciting celebration of the Scottish spirit! The dances are a combination of strength, agility, movement, music and costume. They are generally danced solo and in competition unlike other dance mediums. Dancers typically dance to traditional Scottish music such as Strathspeys, Reels, Hornpipes and Jigs all played by accompanying bagpiper. Dances are made up of different parts, called steps and are usually four or six steps to a dance.
Highland dancing was traditionally performed by men but is now performed by men and women. It is one of few arenas where men and women compete equally. In most competitions, the number of women competing far exceeds the number of men.
In addition to perpetuating a great cultural tradition, highland dancers appreciate the athletic challenges, competitive goals, performance opportunities as well as the opportunity to meet and become lifelong friends with dancers from other areas, both nationally and internationally.
Find out if you belong to a Scottish Clan! Clan hosts can help you learn more about a clan, including their tartans, as well as welcome you into membership should you decide to officially join a clan.”
See more on this event at https://www.smokymountaingames.org/.