June 16, 2013

Scottish Festivals & Highland Games

Each year Clan Carmichael USA is present at various Scottish Festival and Highland Games events, as a Clan representative, as a sponsor, and as a participant. Scroll down below to see a list of Scottish Festival and Games events around the US, where you might find a Clan Carmichael tent and a warm welcome (the picture above is from the 2006 Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games).In addition to clan tents, these family oriented festivals typically feature Scottish music, dancing, food, dogs, vendors, and Highland Games.

What are Scottish or Highland Games?

caber3hammer2The origins of the very diverse Scottish Heavy Athletic events have been lost in the shadows of time but almost certainly date back to the very early Celtic peoples. Whenever tribes or clans gathered to barter or sell their goods or at festival times, informal contests of strength, agility and endurance between the men were also held.Being farmers as well as warriors, these athletic contests were based on similar activities utilizing the items at hand. bagpipesClan chiefs would use these contests to select the best men for his men at arms and couriers.In ancient times, standing armies in the Celtic Nations were very rare, causing the defense of the country to fall upon warriors supplied by clans or tribes. To this end, King Malcolm III Canmore held the first organized highland games at Braemar in 1057. During the 1800’s, Sir Walter Scott’s novels sparked a revival of interest in things Scottish. New Highland Games were organized, with their emphasis shifted towards a purely sporting activity.In order to compete in these traditional events, every athlete is required to wear a kilt except for the novice first-time competitors. The following are some of the modern day competition events that you might see at any of the many Scottish Highland Games around the United States. These competitions require great strength, agility and endurance of the athletes competing for honors and prizes.

    Highland Games Include:

  • Caber toss – Flipping a 15 to 20 foot tree trunk weighing about 100 lbs. end over end.(Top Left)
  • Sheaf toss – Tossing a 15 or 20 lb. bale of straw for height over a crossbar with a pitchfork.
  • Stone put – Shot-putting a smooth 17 lb. stone for distance.
  • Weight Throw – Slinging a 28, 42, or 56 lb. weight with a chain handle for distance or height.
  • Hammer throw – Whirling a 16 or 22 lb. weight with a flexible wooden or PVC handle, and releasing it backwards for distance.(Top Right)

Scottish Festivals/Games Calendar

To find Scottish Festivals and events near you, click on this link:


Volunteers host Clan Carmichael tents at various Scottish Festivals. The schedule varies every year, but the 2015 events which had a volunteer hosting a Clan Carmichael tent are listed as an example:

2015 Scottish Festivals/Games Calendar

12-14 Feb
Valley Forge Scottish/Irish Fest, Valley Forge, PA (George Ross Carmichael)
4-6 Mar
North Texas Irish Festival, Fair Park, Dallas, TX
9 Apr
National Tartan Day Celebration, College Park Mall, Bloomington, IL (Don & Mary Carmichael)
16-17 Apr
Las Vegas Celtic Gathering and Highland Games, Floyd Lamb Park At Tule Springs, Las Vegas, NV
13-15 May
Texas Scottish Festival and Games, Uta, Arlington, TX  (No Tent but Carmichael’s Attend)
3-5 Jun
Glasgow Highland Games, Barren River Lake State Report, Lucas, KY  (Art & Janice Hopkins)
4 Jun
Bonnie Brae Highland Games, Bonnie Brae Educational Facility, Liberty Corner, NJ (George Ross Carmichael)
9 Jun
Deep South Archibald Carmichael Reunion, Clark Co. State Park, MS (Rodney & Gwen Waltman)
10-11 Jun
Utah Scottish Festival and Highland Games, Thanksgiving Point, Lehi, UT (Steve Goeser)
27 Jun
Celtic Festival, Bristol Lions Park, Bristol, PA (George Ross Carmichael)
7-10 Jul
Grand Father Mountain Highland Games, Mcrae Meadows, Linville, NC (Clifford Lowery)
16 Jul
Celtic Heritage Festival, Graeme State Park, Horsham, PA (George Ross Carmichael)
20 Aug
Maine Highland Games, Topsham Fairgrounds, Topsham, ME (Carroll Richardson)
9-11 Sep
Celtic Fest, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Museum, Jackson, MS (Billy Mac Carmichael & Rodney Waltman)
3-4 Sep
151th Scottish Highland Games, Pleasanton Fairgrounds, Pleasanton, CA (Roger & Jeannie Bickell)
10-11 Sep
Columbus Scottish Festival, County Fairgrounds, Columbus, IN (Don & Mary Carmichael)
17 Sep
Fresno Highland Gathering and Games, Kearney Park, Fresno, CA (Adele Harrah)
17 Sep
Charleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering, Boone Hall Plantation, Mt. Pleasant, SC (Ben DeRosia)
25-27 Sep
Celtic Classic Highland Games and Festival, Bethlehem, PA (George Ross Carmichael)
1 Oct
Scotland County Highland Games, Laurinburg, NC (Ben DeRosia)
8-9 Oct
SeaSide Games, Ventura County Fairgrounds, Ventura, CA (Adele Harrah)
15-16 Oct
Stone Mountain Highland Games, Stone Mountain Park, GA (Clifford Lowery)

Note: If any member is interested in hosting, or assisting with, a Clan Carmichael tent, please fill out this form and contact the President (president@carmichael.org).