10 June 2022
KY/TN Commissioner’s Report
Our first games of the season was Smoky Mountain Scottish Games and Festival, 20-21 May. The Friday night Calling of the Clans included an enhanced torch ceremony that was quite impressive. The activities were moved from Maryville to a much larger venue in Townsend, TN, into the beautiful rolling foothills of the Smoky Mountains. The games were well attended by clans, vendors, and athletes. Saturday weather was a bit challenging due to a few pop-up thunderstorms that saw several tents upended and banners torn loose…appropriately typical Scottish type weather I suppose. Regardless of the weather, we enjoyed repeat visitors from previous games, in addition to several first-time visitors who were seriously researching their surname ancestry. Sunday was somewhat disappointing in that visitor traffic was very light and many clan conveners packed up and left early, after the Parade of Tartans. Hopefully, that does not become common practice.
The next weekend we traveled to the Greenville Highland Games and Festival, 27-28 May. I’m especially fond of these games since Upstate South Carolina is home to at least six generations of my somewhat unique-haplogroup Forrester line. While marching with other Clans through downtown Greenville Friday afternoon, we experienced the tremendous appreciation of the Scottish, Scots Irish, and Celtic heritage of the area. We were surprised at the applause we got when we marched past with the Clan Forrester banner. I’m pretty sure the applause was for Clan Forrester and not for the guy in the furry dog suit behind us… again this year! The parade was also the first time we displayed our new marching banner with the embroidered clan crest on standard tartan. The games itself is a one-day event on Saturday, but it’s always packed with activity highlighted by massed bands and a salute to veterans of the US and UK, headed by the 4 Scots Honor Guard from Scotland. We were also honored with a visit to our tent by The Lord Lyon of Scotland. We were positioned just across from the beer tent, so we watched many curious visitors drawn to our interesting front banner. Not surprisingly, most visitors inside the tent were cousins to some degree.
The Glasgow games, originally scheduled for the weekend after Greenville, were unexpectedly canceled, with no reason given. These are literally my home games in that I live just a mile from the site. So far, no explanation has been given other than that the city of Glasgow decided to no longer sponsor the event. Our community is understandably upset and concerned that the games might never continue.
But on a brighter note, we have one more event scheduled and confirmed in September with the Middle Tennessee Highland Games and Celtic Festival. See you there, I hope.