You are currently viewing 2024 Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in NC | Book your Stay for the Games

2024 Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in NC | Book your Stay for the Games

The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games are steeped in rich Scottish history and cultural significance. The Games are an annual event that have been celebrated since 1956 in Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina. The traditional and exciting event honors the Scots in North Carolina, and it is among the first and the largest modern Highland Games established in the United States! People travel from afar to see the spectacle and participate in the competitions. Visitors and participants can compete in Scottish styles of pipingdrumming, costume, dance, and sports.

Legendary Highland Games Return to Grandfather Mountain's MacRae Meadows -  High Country Press

The NC Highland Games of Grandfather Mountain | One-of-a-kind Event!

– The Premier Location: MacRae Meadows on Grandfather Mountain near Linville, NC and

– The Event Dates: July 11 – 14, 2024

History of The Highland Games | How it got it’s start in NC

The Scottish people have a long and deep history in the state of North Carolina; rooted in battle refuge. After the Battle of Culloden in 1746, many Scottish clans made North Carolina one of the most popular destinations for escape and opportunity. Fast forward to post American Civil War, many across the nation assimilated to “American culture” and heritage and traditions began to muddle. The loss of the Scottish culture in North Carolina did not go unnoticed, and in 1956, the Highland Games made a comeback in North Carolina.

The stated mission for the Games is:

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, drumming, athletic achievement, music and Gaelic culture, and to establish scholarship funds to assist students from Avery County High School to study at American colleges and universities.

The event is one of the largest in the country, continuously drawing a crowd of over 30,000.

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in North Carolina |

The Traditions, Displays, and Competitions

The Torchlight Ceremony 

Also called “calling of the clans”, the torchlight ceremony is a ceremony that long ago was used to call the clans to battle. The sundown ceremony is accompanied by music and piping.

The Parade of Tartans 

The final day of the Highland Games begins with the Parade of Tartans. Every Scottish clan attends, gathers, and marches down the track with piping bands. You can expect to see hundreds of clans parading.

The Game Competitions

Piping and drumming

A wide variety of piping and drumming competitions takes place. 


The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games has been designated by the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing as the official site of the Atlantic International championship. The officical judging board creates a rigorous set of dance requirements and each dancer performs to honor the traditions.


Competitions include hammer throwing, weight tossing, traditional Highland wrestling, kilted running, and clan tug of war!

There is a marathon and a game called, The Bear, which is a 5-mile foot race that begins at the bottom of Grandfather Mountain and ends at the top of the mountain.

The crowd favorite is the sheep herding and border collies on the playing field! The dogs skillfully show off!


Bagpipe concerts that features some of the best pipers from around the country are one of the fan’s favorite! There is an extensive summer school at the historic Conference Center in Valle Crucis, NC for bagpiping and drumming during the weeks leading up to The Highland Games in North Carolina and after the games come to a close.

Food and vendors

Vendors from all over the region come to sell arts and crafts with Scottish themes. Traditional Scottish dishes are available such as haggis and fish and chips.

Clan tents

Each clan represented at the games sets up a personalized tent for visitors. At most tents, clan organizations have sign-up forms for membership and often have clothing and memorabilia with the clan’s crest.

Gallery - Perth Highland Games

The Highland Games made popular by “Outlander” – a television series featured on Netflix

In addition to the deep-rooted connection to Scottish culture, the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games have gained further prominence through popular media, notably the popular television series “Outlander.” Set against the backdrop of 18th-century Scotland, “Outlander” has captivated audiences with its compelling narrative and breathtaking scenery, bringing to life the rich history and traditions of the Highlands.

The show’s portrayal of Scottish clans, tartans, and landscapes resonates deeply with fans, many of whom are drawn to the Grandfather Mountain Games to experience firsthand the heritage and camaraderie depicted in “Outlander.” The Games serve as a living testament to the enduring legacy of Scottish culture and its enduring impact on contemporary society, bridging the gap between fiction and reality for enthusiasts of all ages.

Book your stay near The Grandfather Mountain | Visit White Fence Farm Properties

White Fence Farm Vacation Rentals: Choose from two vacation rentals in the heart of downtown Boone, NC, or consider the Farmhouse, located in Trade, TN.

The Downtown Boone House:

  • This two-bedroom house is in the heart of downtown Boone, located on King Street. This home can accommodate up to six guests, within easy walking distance of everything downtown and Appalachian State University.

The Appalachian House:

  • This one-bedroom house can accommodate up to four guests and is adjacent to White Fence Farm, Downtown Boone. Rent one or both depending on the number of people in your party.

The Farmhouse: Functions as a vacation rental home or an event venue. Consider planning a Highland Games themed wedding! 

  • This three-bedroom farmhouse is on 105 acres, and it is just 15 minutes from downtown Boone. The farmhouse can be reserved as a vacation rental or coupled with the property facilities for use as a wedding or special event venue.

White Fence Farm Vacation Rentals

Written by Andrea Morton, Creative Blogging + Marketing Strategies

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