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Friday, May 22, 2009

2009 Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

The 2009 Grandfather Mountain Highland Games are being held on July 9-12, and so if you haven't started already, it is time to make plans to go! In past years, we have made the short half-hour drive from our condo on Beech to attend the Scottish Games at Grandfather Mountain and (even though we're not of any Clan) enjoyed the heck out of ourselves!

The events span over 4 days, and there is something there to interest everyone in the family. On the days we were there, my daughter and I enjoyed watching the sheep herding, petting ducks and rabbits, and spent some time listening to the many different musicians and fantastic Celtic-inspired bands. There were countless competitions for everything from Highland dance to wrestling, which kept us all well entertained until it was time to go.

And this year's gathering of the clans promises just as good a time as last, if not more so, as a half-dozen different bagpipe bands and the booming of kettle drums reverberate across the mountains, and the grandeur of our own Grandfather Mountain is highlighted by the brilliant red, yellow, and greens of the festival's traditional striped tents. After the first evening's torchlight ceremony, when the "raising of the clans" formally acknowledges the members of each of the 160 clans present to celebrate their Scottish heritage, the next three full days are packed with races (such as "The Bear," an annual 5-mile footrace involving more than 800 runners; and The Grizzly Bike Ride), traditional Scottish heavy-weight athletic events like "Turning the Caber" and "Tossing the Sheaf" competitions, and wrestling. And the music, dancing, fine crafts and artwork - and let's not forget the food! - are not to be missed!

For more details about the events and tickets, call 828-733-1333 or visit the official website of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and Gathering O' Scottish Clans at www.gmhg.org. And if you are interested in comfortable lodging on nearby Beech Mountain for you and your “wee lads and lassies” during the games, I hope you will consider our Beech Mountain Bliss condo!
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