Among the many sights and sounds of Scotland to be found on MacRae Meadows throughout the weekend is the popular open-air market set up adjacent to the parade grounds. Merchants sell Gaelic and tartan gift items while concessionaires sell Scottish meat pies to give visitors a taste of the highlands. There is also a tent set up to help guests trace their Scottish roots and learn more about their heritage.
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 www.gmhg.org. Adult 4-day passes are $75 and children’s passes are $20.
Directions from Asheville
70 miles from Asheville, NC: Take I-40 East to Marion, NC. Take Exit #85. Turn left at the bottom of the ramp and go one mile to a stoplight. At the stoplight turn left and follow US 221 North to the entrance of Grandfather Mountain (about 30 miles).
Parking is available on site at the Games field Thursday and Friday on a first-come, first-serve basis with overflow parking at shuttle lots in Linville. 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 during the day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Linville shuttle runs Saturday and Sunday and the Newland shuttle runs Friday and Saturday. Shuttle fees vary depending on the distance between the lots and MacRae Meadows.
Tickets to the off-mountain evening events vary by event. For more information call 828-733-1333 or visit online at www.gmhg.org.
The Grandfather Highland Games were started in 1956. Since then, they have become one of the most popular and colorful events in the nation. The Games are held beside and within a 440 yard oval track, because running foot-races was always the most traditional aspect of Highland Games. Sadly, Grandfather is one of the few Games in the U.S. to have its own track. Other "children" of the Grandfather Games concentrate on the so-called "Heavy" Events, with no foot-races involved.
The site of the GMHG is MacRae Meadows, high on the slopes of mile-high Grandfather Mountain. The setting closely resembles Kintail in Scotland's Wester Ross. The rugged terrain, the wild-flowers and even the weather are all similar. Rhododendrons and mountain ash (rowan trees) grow in profusion, the Allegheny sand myrtle is a member of the heather family, thistles bloom in August and occasional "scotch mists" swirl through the gaps and around the mountain tops.
Torchlight Ceremony on Thursday Night