10-02-13-highland-games.gifThe 5th Annual Scotland County Highland Games is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 5 on the grounds of the John Blue Home and Historical Complex in Laurinburg, N.C.

“This whole upper Cape Fear Region was at one point the largest settlement of Highland Scott in all of North America,” said Bill Caudill, chairman of the Scotland County Highland Games. “There is a lot of Scottish presence and Scottish identity here and has been for the last two centuries.”

Caudill added that the Highland Games is the cultural festival that celebrates that tradition and heritage within this region. The organization took the lead after the Flora MacDonald Scottish Games were discontinued in Red Springs in 2008.

“Once they announced that they were discontinuing their event the phones starting ringing in Laurinburg,” said Caudill. “They indicated that we had hotels to stay in, restaurants to eat in and wonderful places in Laurinburg so why didn’t we take the lead by continuing this festival in this region?”

Caudill added that they decided that they would give it a try and it has been a great success.

The weekend event has something for everyone such as piping, drumming, children’s activities and games, athletic games and dancing. There are 15 pipe bands competing and they are coming from throughout the southeast.

“We have one of the world’s top players, Bruce Gandy, who will be one of the guest judges and will do a recital on Friday night,” said Caudill. “The Highland dancers will compete and will do dances such as the Highland Fling or a sword dance.”

The Whisky Tasting was the hit event of the festival last year.

“It is like a wine tasting and folks want to taste whisky at one point during the festival,” said Caudill. “We have 8 single-malt whiskies paired with gourmet food.”

Caudill added that one is being paired with a strawberry dish, another with smoked North Carolina scallops, and with chocolate caramel and sea salt. Each person participating in the event will get to taste eight whiskies and food for $25. Registration is required for this event and limited to 50 people.

“The event has been a great success since we began particularly during the time in which our similar festivals nationwide have been hit by the economic downturns,” said Caudill. “People love coming here and they love the historical connection to the region that they can find by coming to this area.”

Caudill said it has been a great opportunity to draw people in from really far and wide as a tourist opportunity. No firearms, pets or outside alcohol will be allowed on the grounds. Patron and sponsor information can be found on the website. For more information visit www.schgnc.org.

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