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A celebration of Scottish culture and history kicks off in Townsend on Saturday

The Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games moved to a new location at the Townsend Visitor Center this year.

TOWNSEND, Tenn. — There will a huge celebration of Scottish culture over the weekend in East Tennessee — the Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games.

The festival started in 1981 as the Gatlinburg Scottish Festival and Games, and organizers said it's one of the oldest Scottish festivals in the country. In 2022, it moved to a new home in Townsend where organizers said they found a larger venue.

There, festival-goers will be able to see clans and shop from local vendors. They will also be able to watch national performers show their skills alongside local performers. There will be hammer throw games, caber toss and a medley of bands that include bagpipes and drummers. Clans will also compete in challenges like the kilted mile run and the battle-ax competition.

Attendees will also be able to enjoy cultural and educational presentations. There will also be Scotch tasting seminars paired with quick lessons on Scottish history. There will also be Border Collie demonstrations showing off their herding abilities.

Selected vendors will also offer Scottish, Irish and Celtis goods that are not normally found in stores, according to organizers. That will include leather, jewelry, kilts and sporrans. Meanwhile, the aroma of meat pies, shortbreads and haggis will be available for attendees to enjoy.

The event will be on a center that's larger than 30 acres with adjacent parking.

A two-day pass is available for $35 at the gate, with reduced prices for single-day tickets and half-day tickets. Children under 15 years old can enter the festival for free. First responders, seniors, veterans, active-duty military members and students will also be able to enter at reduced prices.

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