Smoky Mountain Highland Games

The 2011 Smoky Mountain Highland Games will be held May 20-22 at Maryville College in Maryville, Tenn.

If you’re interested in Scottish history and culture, the 2013 Smoky Mountain Highland Games is the place to be. From the Kilted Mile to the history of the tartan, this festival is all about all things Scottish. This year, the 32nd games will be held May 17-19 at Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee, and if you’re Scottish, or just like Scots, you need to be there.

Check out the activities and the pageantry this Scottish festival in Maryville, Tennessee has to offer, and take home many years’ worth of memories. The weekend starts out with a Scottish whiskey tasting and seminar at Proffitt Dining Hall, followed by a gala at the Clayton Center for the Arts in the grand foyer on Friday evening.

On Saturday and Sunday, you’ll get to participate in an evening Scottish music festival, called a Ceilidh, as well as Scottish athletic events (both professional and amateur), and a Highland Dance competition. Pipers will be happy to participate in the Piper and Pipe Band performances and competition, and the rest of us will be happy to watch and listen. Expect to see well known musicians, including Celtic Martins, Albannach, Colin Grant-Adams and Father, Son & Friends throughout the day and at the Saturday night Ceilidh Under the Stars, starting at 7 pm.

Kids won’t feel left out, either. There’s scaled down caber tossing for the little ones, as well as Toss the Haggis and a Saturday children’s challenge. The Kid’s Kastle is a big favorite, too. Adults will enjoy axe throwing, running the Kilted Mile (with loaner kilts available for those without), highland wrestling, heavy athletics, a sheep dog competition and more.

Check these out, as well as other vendors on site offering jewelry, clothing, books, music, Scottish meat pies, sausage rolls and more.

If you want to find out about your Scottish ancestry, stop by one of the more than 60 heritage and clan societies that will be on hand to tell you about clan history, genealogy and the history of Scotland. At the Scottish Tartans Museum Tent near the Festival’s front gate, you’ll be able to talk to experts on the development of the tartan and the kilt, as well as other traditional Scottish attire.

This Scottish festival, now in Maryville, TN has been going strong for 30 years, and promises to be just as fun as it ever was. Remember to dress for the weather and that no pets are allowed at the games, and don’t forget to have fun! If you’re interested in finding out more about the Smoky Mountain Highland Games, check out their website at

If you are looking for a place to stay in Townsend, be sure to check out our list of Townsend, TN cabins and Townsend campgrounds.

Below is the full Smoky Mountain Highland Games schedule of events:


3 PM – Scotch Whisky Seminar & Tasting with Colin Grant-Adams, Proffitt Dining Hall
6:30 PM – Kickoff Parade & Concert – Downtown Maryville. Pipe bands, entertainers & more!
6:30 PM – Gala at the Clayton Center for the Arts Grand Foyer


Saturday Music Schedule

8 AM – Gates open
– Merchandise & food vendors open
– Pipers & Drummers registration
– Athlete Registration
12 Noon – Massed Band Presentation
– Opening Ceremonies
1:30 PM – Scotch Whisky Seminar & Tasting, Proffitt Dining Hall
4:30 PM – Massed Bands Presentation
– Pipe & Drum Band Competition, Awards Presentation
– Days End Fade Out
All day – Scottish country dancing, border collie demonstrations, children’s activities, clan challenge, athletics, entertainment, dance & piping competition
7 PM – Ceilidh Under the Stars begins

The caber toss – a Scottish tradition.


Sunday Music Schedule

8:30 AM – Gates Open
– Merchandise & Food Vendors Open
9:30 AM – Worship Service
– Kirking of the Tartans
12 Noon – Pipe Band concert
1:15 PM – Massed Bands Presentation
– Parade of Tartans
1:45 PM – Scottish Dog Parade & Talent Show (Open to everyone. Entries invited.)
All day – Scottish country dancing, amateur athletics, children’s activities, heritage seminars, entertainment
3 PM – Closing Ceremonies – “Amazing Grace” by the pipe bands

Sam Houston Schoolhouse

Sam Houston may be one of the most celebrated former citizens of Blount County.  While he lived in the area it is no doubt that he roamed the mountains and countrysides, down into the Walland and Townsend area and of course throughout Maryville.

Sam Houston lived with the Cherokee Indians at age 16 for a number of years and learned to live off the land.  He was taught all manner of outdoor craft by these natives of the mountains.  Before that point he had gotten his ‘book learning’ at a school.  When turned 18 he took the position as school master at a one room schoolhouse in the area that would eventually become known as Maryville.  He taught these students the knowledge they would need out of books but also taught them about the Indians that had become part of his family and how they could live in unity with them.  He taught everyone that wanted to learn, from the age of 6 to the age of 60, they people came to learn.  The tuition to be taught at the one room log cabin style house was $8 a year and though that was a lot for the people that lived back then, people payed it gladly.

The schoolhouse was built of hewn poplar logs.  It was a typical one room schoolhouse of he day.  A fireplace would supply heat tot he students when it was close to harvest and the mornings were cold and the door would stay open through the summer so that they could get a breeze when the heat got bad.  Houston founded the school in 1812.  This was the first school in what would become the state of Tennessee. The school served students form the edge of Knox county and Blount county.  The time spent teaching the students of the East Tennessee area would shape Houstons life in later years.

“(with) the sense of authority over my pupils, I experienced a higher feeling of dignity and self satisfaction than from any office or honor which I have held since.

Now, you can visit this historic site and take a step back into the past.  Some of the original logs are still there and on a quite day you can hear the babbling brook nearby that would have given the students drinking water.  You can walk in and sit down at the desks and imagine what it would have been like to sit under the watchful eye of a future statesman like Sam Houston.  You can read about the man that built the schoolhouse  and how he ended up in Texas.  Take your family on a day trip into the Smokies and let them experience true history at a place that shaped the people that shaped the founding of America.