Grandfather Mountain Highland Games


Phone: 828-733-1333
Address: 2050 Blowing Rock Hwy, Linville, NC
Website: www.gmhg.org

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games are held at MacRae Meadows on Grandfather Mountain near Linville.

Grandfather Highland Games

The 2018 Games will be held July 12-15

The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and Gathering O’ Scottish Clans has been held as an annual event for over 60 years. The 63rd annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games will be held July 12-15, 2018 at MacRae Meadows on Grandfather Mountain near Linville.

The Mission of 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.

MacRae Meadows comes alive the second weekend every July with the color and spectacle of the annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, first held in 1956. Guests can enjoy the immersion with bright tartans, the smell of campfires in the air and the sound of traditional bagpipes and drums. Guests can also enjoy local barbeque and traditional Scottish fare as well as traditional mountain music.

Every year, thousands of people flock to MacRae Meadows to share in the rich cultural heritage of the Highlands, many of the participants making a point to attend every year. People come from near and far to one of the grandest Highland Games in the nation, with thousands of Scots decked out in their finest tartan plaids.

Opening Ceremonies

Opening ceremonies begin at dusk with a torchlight ceremony where representatives of each of the 80 clans and 15 societies announce their family’s participation in the gathering. This “raising of the clans” proclaims that each family has come together once again to celebrate a shared heritage.

The Bear

Before the opening ceremonies take place, 800 runners will take part in a 5-mile footrace called “The Bear” that takes runners more than 1,500 feet up from the town of Linville to the top of Grandfather Mountain.

The Games

The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games just wouldn’t be without the games! There is heavy-duty competition at the heart of this annual festival. World-champion Highland athletes display their prowess in games similar to ones played by Celtic tribes, with athletes donning kilts and Celtic dress. The seven games attract athletes who are world-traveled players who come to compete in the septathlon similar to track and field events. Games include Hammers and Stones, Caber Toss, Events for Runners, Music and Dance and even stuff for the kids including sack races, field games, a wrestling clinic and junior versions of the caber toss to keep the entire family involved.


Guests can enjoy traditional Scottish and Highlands fare during the games to keep their bellies full for the festivities. If Celtic food isn’t your thing, you can also nab some local barbeque to keep you fed.

The Celtic Jam

The Celtic Jam, held on Friday night, highlights contemporary Celtic music at MacRae Meadows and serves up performances of high energy music for all to enjoy.


Camping is available for guests to have a truly authentic Celtic time at the games. Advanced payment guarantees you a primitive campsite on MacRae Meadows, with a two-night minimum. No onsite registration is available. Prices for camping are $55 per adult and $20 for children 5-12 years old. Children under 4 camp for free.


Special four-day tickets are available through advance order only and must be postmarked no later than July 1

4-Day Advanced Tickets: $75
Thursday Ticket: $15
Friday Day and Celtic Jam Ticket: $20
Friday Celtic Music Jam Ticket: $15
Saturday 8am to 11pm: $30
Saturday 6:30 to 11pm: $15
Saturday 8am to 4pm: $15

4 Day Advanced Ticket: $20
Thursday (picnic and opening ceremony): $5
Friday (Preliminaries and Celtic Music Jam): $5
Friday Night Celtic Music Jam: $5
Saturday (Professional competition and Celtic rock concert): $5
Saturday Night Celtic Rock Concert: $5
Sunday 8am to 4pm: $5
Worship Service, Parade of Tartan and Children’s Events: $5