For 14 years the Scots have gathered at Meeks Park on Highway 515 in Blairsville. Highland dancers, Scottish athletes, family clans, bagpipes and drums and traditional musicians come to celebrate their heritage. Sheep dogs, highland cattle, falcons and birds of prey all come with their handlers. This was the dream of local realtor, Jim McAfee. In 2003 Jim was on the Board of Directors of the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce. The board was looking for an intriguing family-focused occasion to bring guests to Blairsville as well as be an interesting and lasting event bringing resources to Union County and surrounding areas. Jim and his wife, Linda, had been attending highland games and Scottish festivals around the country and recognized how such an event could fulfil both desires… bring tourism and benefit the local community. With a core group of other chamber board members and volunteers Jim led the committee for 13 years in fulfilling this dream.
McAfee did an outstanding job of forming a self-sustaining committee who continue to bring the Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games to town. Continuing this year will be Level A & B Scottish Athletics, Highland dancers, pipe and drum bands, traditional animals that are very important in Scottish agriculture, and special activities for the children.
Special activities for the children include the “passport to the clan” where children visit clan tents and once they learn one fact about the clan they receive a stamp and once their passport is full they receive a prize. There is also face painting and other activities especially for the wee lads and lassies.
Even if you don’t know your family’s heritage or have little or no Scottish ties come experience Scotland without the need of a passport or international flight across the ocean. Admission is $10 per day or $15 for both Saturday and Sunday. Children 12 and under are free. Meeks Park on Highway 515 hosts all the events beginning at 9 am each day. The opening ceremony with the massed bands and parade of tartans will be at 12 noon on Saturday.
Saturday evening from 6:30 – 8:30 at the Entertainment Tent Blairsville’s own Scottish Rock Concert will feature the Blarney Girls and Seven Nations. $5 tickets may be purchased throughout the day Saturday or at the gate.
Volunteers are a vital part of the success of the Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games as over 9,000 visitors attend each year. If you would like to be involved in this exciting event please contact Renee Deibert at 706-897-4598.
The Scots, surrounded by the sound of pipes and drums, are coming to Meeks Park on Saturday and Sunday, June 10 and 11. Come enjoy the 14th Annual Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games where everyone is a Scot!