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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Gatlinburg Highland Games

This past weekend I attended the Gatlinburg (TN) Highland Games & Scottish Festival. This was the 27th year of the Games. I've attended with the Scottish Tartans Museum for at least the past 10 years. It's one of my favorites, being relatively close to me, a smaller, more relaxed Games, with very friendly people. I always enjoy going, despite the tendency for rain and mud! Past experience has told me, when I go to this festival, I always pack my Muck Boots just in case. Thankfully, this year I didn't need them. The weather on Saturday was just perfect. The sun was shining, and the temperature was perfect for Goldilocks -- not too hot, not too cold, but just right!

Here's a shot of our museum's tent. We were set up just by one of the main entrances, so people could find us easily and get information about their tartan or clan first thing. Working in the tent here is Chuck Coburn, dedicated museum volunteer. He's assisting a young lady in finding her tartan, no doubt!
We directed a lot of people to their clan tents, and provided a lot of tartan prints and the like. Here is a shot of myself. I wore my new "half-belted plaid" for the entire day. I figured it would eventually get too hot and I'd strip it off my lunch, but the temperature really was just about perfect. It stayed in place well enough, and garnered lots of compliments (as did my Ferguson Britt sporran). I'm wearing the Carolina tartan, which is the same tartan we were using as a table covering -- tartan camouflage!
I was surprised Saturday to see a couple walking by wearing a tartan I did not recognize. To some this may be no big deal, but being in the "tartan game" as long as I have, this doesn't happen all that often to me! So I called them over and asked them what the tartan was. Turns out it is the Wardlaw tartan, designed in August 2005 (so I can be forgiven for not knowing it, I suppose!). It was designed by Diane Wardlaw of the Clan Wardlaw Association and Maxine Scott of the House of Tartan. The purple color is to represent "the many Royal connections the Wardlaws have had through history."
Though the weather was as perfect as you could want on Saturday, Sunday was another matter. I was scheduled to give a talk at 11:45, and it was about that time that the skies opened up and the rains began to pour. At first it was intermittent, but soon turned into a steady rain that really dispersed the crowd and kept numbers low for the day. Normally I have a pretty good number for these talks I give at the Games, but this time I worried no one would show up!

While waiting I put my camera on auto-timer and snapped a pic of myself waiting patiently by the heritage tent where I was to speak. Good news is that only a few minutes later a couple came for my talk, and they were joined shortly after by another three men, so I had an audience after all -- small, but appreciative! (Forgive my sporran hanging open in the below pic -- I had opened it to remove my camera and neglected to close it!)

As the rains refused to cease, we packed things up and left a bit early Sunday afternoon, and enjoyed a pleasant drive through the misty and cloudy Great Smoky Mountain National Park, back home to North Carolina. Despite the bad weather on Sunday, we had a good time and count this a successful venture! Within the next few weeks we prepare to attend the Greater Greenville Scottish Games and Highland Festival in SC, and then immediately after our own Taste of Scotland street fair in Franklin, NC. If you plan to attend either of those, be sure to pop over and say "hi!"
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MaritaBeth said...

I find myself disappointed to see that the Arlington Texas Scottish Games is not in your list of upcoming events. We were hoping to meet you. Oh well, perhaps next year?
~MB of The Daily KRuMB

Heath Barkley said...

In the first picture of the museum tent, the gentleman about to walk in front of the tent is Greg Cutcliff, Drum Major for the Nashville (TN) Pipe and Drums. They placed first in their level at Gatlinburg. He's a good friend of mine. Its odd to see him in his Robertson Kilt. He usually wears the purple Montgomery.