The North Carolina Visitor Center




GMHG 2015



The 60th Annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and Gathering of Scottish Clans brings the color of hundreds of tartan plaids and the clamor of hundreds of pipers and drummers to the North Carolina Highlands Thursday through Sunday, July 9-12.

The Grandfather Games are considered America’s grandest Games because of the spectacular mountain setting that is so reminiscent of Scotland.  The deep blue peaks of Grandfather Mountain tower above MacRae meadows which is ringed by almost 200 red, blue, yellow and green striped Clan tents. The color is augmented by thousands of Scots decked out in their finest tartan plaids.

            The Highland Games begin Thursday afternoon, July 9, with a sheep dog demonstration, Celtic entertainment, the running of “The Bear,” and the opening ceremonies.  The opening ceremonies begin at dusk with a torchlight ceremony where representatives of each of the 80 plus clans announce their family’s participation in the gathering. This “raising of the clans” proclaims that they have once again come together to celebrate their heritage.

                       Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are filled with competition in heavy-weight Scottish athletic events; highland dancing competition; bagpipe band parades; piping, drumming and harp competitions; sheep herding demonstrations by Scottish border collies and concerts featuring a wide variety of Celtic music. 

            The Scottish Cultural Village, a new and unique addition to the Games in 2015, will also be open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Be sure to visit this brand new exhibition area where selected experts will demonstrate and present on various aspects of Scottish culture.  Exhibitions include but are not limited to:  period firearms and edged weaponry, bagpiping, blacksmithing, and heroes and villains in Scottish culture. 

At the center of the activity, the nation’s top Scottish athletes clash in traditional heavyweight events such as “Turning the Caber” and “Tossing the Sheaf.” Other ancient tests of strength awaiting the brawny professionals are highland wrestling, putting the stone, the hammer throw and various weight throws.

            On Saturday night, the Celtic Jam highlights traditional and contemporary Celtic music at MacRae Meadows and on Friday night the Celtic Rock Concert serves up performances from some of the higher energy bands.

Adult tickets are $15 Thursday, $20 Friday, $30 Saturday and $15 Sunday.  The tickets cover all activities in the meadows, which on Friday and Saturday last from early morning to midnight. Tickets are $5 each day for children ages 5-12 with children under five free. Tickets are available at the field on the day of the event. Four-day tickets are also available online at Adult 4-day passes are $75 and children’s passes are $30.

            Parking is available on site at the Games field Thursday night.  Friday parking is on a first-come, first-serve basis with overflow parking at the Avery County High School shuttle lot. Public parking is not available at the field on Saturday and Sunday. Shuttle service is provided between MacRae Meadows and satellite parking areas in Linville, Newland and Boone. The Boone shuttle runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and is free for 4-day advanced ticket holders ($10 round trip without 4-day ticket).  For more information call 828-733-1333 or visit online at

Written by:  Landis Wofford

Edited by:  Thomas Taylor