Thousands of attendees, Scottish or not, are expected as the Smoky Mountain Highland Games return to Maryville College for the weekend of May 18-20.
Now in its 31st year, the regional event is returning for a second year to the campus.
The annual games, which celebrate the culture and heritage of Scotland, kicks off with a gala reception — including a formal dinner of Scottish fare, followed by a traditional haggis ceremony — at 6:30 p.m. on May 18 in the William Baxter Lee III Grand Foyer of the Clayton Center for the Arts on campus. Tickets must be purchased in advance at the games' website.
The games begin in earnest at 8 a.m. on May 19, when the gates open.
Activities will include Scottish country dancing, border collie demonstrations, children's activities and plenty of athletic events featuring men in kilts — including the Kilted Mile, Bonniest Knees, Haggis Toss and tug-of-war contests.
Piping and drumming bands also will perform.
A Scottish worship service tentatively is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on May 20. The service will include a "Kirking of the Tartans," a Scottish-American custom that involves a parade and roll call of the clans in attendance.
Tickets are available online at smokymountaingames.org. Tickets also can be purchased at the Blount County Chamber of Commerce in Maryville and at the Clayton Center for the Arts box office at Maryville College.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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