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Organizers hope to host Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games in May

The games are scheduled for May 15-16 on the Maryville College campus, and will include clan events, games, food and music.

MARYVILLE, Tenn. — The Highland games will hopefully be back in East Tennessee in 2021.

After being canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, organizers are planning to hold the Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games this year, with safety as a priority.

The festival is contingent on COVID-19 numbers in the area, but festival authorities are continuing to move forward in the planning process.

The games are scheduled for May 15-16 on the Maryville College campus, and will include clan events, games, food and music.

“Being relatively new to the area, my family and I have not had the opportunity to attend the Games, so we’re hoping that this much-anticipated event can happen in 2021,” said Maryville College President Dr. Bryan F. Coker. “The College is working closely with the Games organizations to ensure that COVID-safe practices are put in place and that safety for all attendees is a priority.”

Here's what you can expect, according to a press release: 

Featuring local and national performers, the two-day festival offers three stages for music and historical, cultural and educational presentations. The bareknuckle pipes and drums band, Albannach, returns with their champion piper, didgeridoo player and award-winning tribal style bass drumming. Scotch tasting seminars feature a bit of history and humor and the Border Collie demonstrations are guaranteed to amaze onlookers with their herding abilities and intense gaze.

Competitions include the hammer throw or caber toss, spirited celebrations from men and women Highland dancers, a medley of bands including bagpipes and drummers, and clan challenges like the kilted mile run or the battle axe competition, just to name a few.

Organizers are expecting a big turnout since the event was canceled last year. 

Multiple ticket pass options are available from $15 to $35 depending on the day and time. Festival goers can save time and money by buying online. First responders, seniors, veterans, active-duty military and students will receive a discounted rate with ID.