ANNUAL SCOTTISH GAMES TO BE HELD AT
MTSU ON OCT. 3-5, 2003
For the first time in its eight-year history, the
Tennessee Highland Games, an annual celebration of all things
Scottish, will be held indoors Oct. 3-5 at MTSUıs
Tennessee Livestock Center on Greenland Drive in
Murfreesboro on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU).
A solid itinerary of Celtic music and Scottish games, dance and
food will await those who attend this yearıs games, which is being
organized by the Heart of Tennessee Scottish Celebration Inc.,
a nonprofit organization.
The eventıs free seminars, all of which will focus on
Scottish history, traditions, genealogy and lore, will get under way
beginning at noon and continuing through 4 p.m. on
Friday, Oct. 3, at the Garden Plaza Hotel, 1850 Old Fort
Parkway, in Murfreesboro. The Patronıs Dinner will be
held 6-9 that evening in the hotel, as well.
According to event organizers, the gamesı move to the livestock
center was made so that participating clans can "stay warm and dry
no matter the weather" during this yearıs activities. In turn,
participating clans will be arranged on the main ring floor around
the centerıs arena on a first-come, first-served basis. For the
Scottish clans gathering, this yearıs honored clan will be Clan
On Saturday, Oct. 4, the games will be held 8:30
a.m.-4:30 p.m., with gates opening at the Tennessee Livestock
Center at 8:30 a.m. The Parade of Tartans will take place at
the center beginning at noon. The dayıs closing ceremony will
be the Friendship Circle, which will get under way at 4:30
p.m. Later that day, at 8:30 p.m., will be the Ceilidh
(pronounced kay-lee), a Gaelic word that has come to mean
a party or celebration. The format of the Ceilidh may vary, but in
general, it includes singing, dancing, storytelling and socializing.
As for the dayıs activities, athletic contests will include
Turning the Caber, Clachneart (stone throw), Tossing the Sheaf,
Weigh Toss and Weight Throw and Jack Danielıs Whiskey Barrel
Featured musical activities will include bagpipe and drum
competitions, as well as Scottish musicmaker Alex Beaton and
the critically acclaimed Celtic rock group known as Seven
Nations, whose members have been heralded for their seamless
fusion of driving modern rock and "foot-stomping" traditional music.
Competition in Highland and National dances also
will be Oct. 4. The judges will use the standards set for
performance and judging by the Scottish Official Board of Highland
Dancing. The Sword Dance, Highland Flight, Seann Tribhas, Strathspey
and Highland Reel, Sailorıs Hornpipe, Irish Jig, Scottish Lilt and
Flora MacDonald are the dances that will be in the competition. For
dance registration details, contact Judy Hackett via e-mail
Additionally, throughout the event, a childrenıs area will
feature face painting, the passport game, tug of war and a haggis
toss, among other activities.
"There is a lot of family heritage, culture and history," said
John Maulden of the Heart of Tennessee Scottish Celebration Inc.
"Anybody can come and enjoy the athletics, music and other
Then, on Sunday, Oct. 5, the annual celebration will begin
with Kirkin of the Tartan, an unusual worship service
commemorating Scottish heritage. The service will be held at
10:30 a.m. (dinner at noon) at First Cumberland Presbyterian
Church, 901 Main St., in Murfreesboro.
Established in April 1941 by the St. Andrews Society of
Washington, D.C., the first Kirkin of the Tartan was initially
conceived and conducted by the late Dr. Peter Marshall, a
native Scot and one-time Chaplain of the United States Senate.
According to the ceremonyıs history, its central theme is the
presentation of the tartans and flags of the Scottish clans,
symbolizing the re-dedication of Scots everywhere to Godıs service.
And although the service is American in origin, there is historical
evidence of its Scottish roots, say games organizers.
TICKETS: Advance tickets for this yearıs
celebration are $8 for adults and $3 for children (ages 4-12) if
purchased before Sept. 27. On the weekend of the games, tickets
will be available at the gate for the price of $10 for adults and $3
for children. Children 3 and younger will be admitted free. MTSU
students with a valid student ID will receive discount tickets at
To order advance tickets via mail, make checks payable to The
Heart of Tennessee Scottish Celebration Inc. and mail them to P.O.
Box 2053, Murfreesboro, TN 37133-2053. To pay for advance tickets
with Visa or MasterCard, call 615-848-9193.
o For more information regarding the games, please contact
John or Sandi Mauldin at 615-848-9193, or visit the
Tennessee Highland Games Web site at