Dust off the kilt

Smoky Mountain Highland Games moving to Maryville

Without even tossing the caber or running the Kilted Mile, Maryville may feel like celebrating a win.

Board members of the Gatlinburg Scottish Festival and Games, Inc., announced on Tuesday, June 22, that they will be moving their annual event from Gatlinburg to the Maryville College campus in 2011.

The event, scheduled for May 20-22, will be hosted jointly by the college and the City of Maryville.

“The Maryville College facilities, location and the school’s Scottish ties, as well as the support promised to the games by all parties, made this a perfect fit for us,” said Clifford Fitzsimmons, president of the non-profit organization. “From a crowd capacity standpoint, our games had simply outgrown the space available in Mills Park.”

Fitzsimmons said that his board also voted to change the name of the event to “The Smoky Mountain Highland Games” and the non-profit’s name to reflect the change in location.

Last month, the Gatlinburg Scottish Festival and Games hosted its 29th celebration of Scottish heritage, which was attended by more than 3,000 paid attendees, the president said.

“The games featured 43 clan tents, an array of vendors, a collection of some of the Southeast’s premier pipe and drum bands and a night-time Celtic music festival with both traditional and Celtic-rock appeal,” Fitzsimmons said.

The schedule for the three-day event typically includes a gala and banquet, Scottish athletics such as Highland wrestling and tossing the sheaf, pipe and drum band competitions, Highland dance competitions, other friendly competitions such as the Bonniest Knees Contest and the Haggis Toss, featured Scottish entertainers and children’s activities.

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