The annual Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games takes place on the campus of historic Maryville College, in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, on Saturday and Sunday, May 20-21, 2017. This unique Tennessee event will kick off with the opening gala on the evening of May 19, and the festival will run all weekend, presenting fun for all ages.
Maryville is about 40 miles to the west of Gatlinburg. If you’ve made to Townsend, perhaps on your way to Cades Cove, or for that fun town’s own festival, then you’re already halfway to Maryville. The Scottish Festival offers a compelling reason to go the extra miles.
Enjoy a variety of unique activities for the whole family
The Scottish Festival and Games offers a wide range activities, entertainment, demonstrations, and more. It doesn’t matter whether you are an expert in your clan’s history or you know almost nothing about Scottish culture; or if you are five years old, or merely five years old at heart; or even if you’re a human or a canine companion. Everyone will find something that they’ll love at the festival.
Lovers of live entertainment will be able to witness events such as the traditional Highland dance competition, as well as live musical acts that will be performing all festival long (including bagpipers and drummers!).
The music at the festival always features a number of great bands, often mixing in an Irish feel, and a blending of the Appalachian. It’s remarkable how close Bluegrass is to the old Celtic sounds – and how much they all rock!
History buffs can delve deeply into the culture of specific clans that settled in east Tennessee, and even learn more about their own links to Scottish heritage.
Those who appreciate the allure of a fine dram of whisky will definitely want to register for one of the Scotch tastings that will take place over the weekend. Connoisseurs of this world-renowned beverage will introduce attendees to a few of the different regions and flavor characteristics that make up the vast realm of Scotch whisky.
Don’t forget to bring the little ones along as well, because there will be plenty of games, entertainment, and educational opportunities available for them to enjoy. The festival will even feature a kids-only version of the Highland Athletic games competition, including such traditional events as the Caber Toss, and the slightly more improbable Haggis Hurl 😉
And lest your four-legged companions be forgotten, there will be dog-friendly events held during the festival also. One of the most popular events during the weekend is the annual dog show and parade, where some of these intelligent and hard working animals will even be decked out in their family’s tartan colors. Don’t worry, breeds other than Scotties are welcome to join!
Witness outstanding tests of athletic skill
Scottish festivals throughout the world are known for their athletic events, and it’s no different in the Smoky Mountains. It is believed that many of these competitions have been a part of Scottish culture since at least the 11th century, when the king of Scotland ordered peasants to race so that he could find the fastest messenger in the land.
Thankfully, today’s competitors don’t have to bear that burden, but they still thrive on performing these feats of athleticism for a crowd! Watch as participants toss massive poles end over end in the Caber Toss, and hurl a traditional Scottish hammer in the Hammer Throw, and much more.
Immerse yourself in the environs of the Great Smoky Mountains
As you enjoy the immense variety of activities and entertainment on display at the Scottish Festival and Games, you can also take some time to appreciate the serene beauty of the environment around you. The Smoky Mountains are a unique locale on the North American continent, and the inhabitants and visitors are proud to celebrate the importance of Scottish heritage to the people of the region.
And check this clip for a taste: