Highland Games Press Room

The 65th annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games return to Western North Carolina July 9-12, 2020. Please visit us in the Press Tent during the Highland Games for more information and to pick up your complimentary copy of the Highland Games program, featuring extensive information on the individual events, music, honored guests and history. For more information, please contact frank@grandfather.com or the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games office at (828) 733-1333 or gmhginfo@yahoo.com.

Founded Sponsoring Organization Mission
Event Dates Location Special in 2017
Number of Clans Participating Number of Clan Tents Attendance
Distinguished Guests Staff Featured bagpipe bands
Featured Entertainers Participating Nonprofit Organizations GMHG Scholars

Founded:
1956 by Agnes MacRae Morton and former Charlotte News reporter Donald MacDonald.

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Sponsoring Organization:
Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, Inc.

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Mission:
GMHG is a nonprofit, non-stock corporation licensed under the laws of North Carolina to carry on and promote the annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and Gathering of Scottish Clans, to foster and restore interest in traditional dancing, piping, athletic achievement and Gaelic culture, and to create and establish scholarship funds to assist students from Avery County High School to study at American colleges and universities.

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Event Dates: July 9-12, 2020
Always held on the second full weekend in July. The earliest the Games will occur is July 6-9 (in years when the first of July falls on a Saturday), and the latest it occurs is July 9-12 (in years when the first of July falls on a Sunday).

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Location:
MacRae Meadows, U.S. Highway 221, two miles north of Linville, N.C., and one mile south of the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305.

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Special in 2018: Now for the fourth year, the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games presents the Scottish Cultural Village, where experts will discuss or demonstrate numerous aspects of Scottish culture, including blacksmithing, weaving, spinning, athletics, piping and drumming, dancing and more. The experts will present every 30 minutes throughout the weekend in Grove 3. Visit gmhg.org for more information.

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Number of Scottish Clans and Societies Participating: Approximately 123

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Number of Clan Tents Ringing the Field: Approximately 170

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Estimated Annual Attendance: 20,000-25,000

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2018 Honored and Distinguished Guests: See gmhg.org for information.

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Staffing:
4 full-time employees on GMHG payroll
100 seasonal employees on GMHG payroll
8 nonprofit organizations providing support services

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Nonprofit Organizations and Services Provided:

  • Crossnore Volunteer Fire Department: Shuttle Bus Service and Concessions
  • Caldwell Community College: Parking
  • Avery County High School: Parking
  • Rotary Club and the Hunger Coalition of Watauga County: Parking
  • Avery Baptist Association:  Ticket Sales
  • Kiwanis of Banner Elk: Souvenir Program Sales
  • Linville Volunteer Fire Department: Ice Sales

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Featured Highland Bagpipe Bands in 2018: See gmhg.org for information.

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Featured Musical Performers in 2018: TBA

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2017 Highland Games Scholars:

  • Matthew Cade Johnson
  • Lucas S. Powell
  • McKenzie Hailey Brookshire
  • Mekaylah Alisce Brookshire
  • Madison Taylor Daniels
  • Virginia Katherine Andrews
  • Bridgette Rheona Smith

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