Stone Mountain Park Blog What to Expect at Stone Mountain Highland Games What to Expect at Stone Mountain Highland GamesSince 1972, the picturesque grounds of the Stone Mountain Park meadow have been filled with the sound of bagpipes, fiddles, and harps during the third weekend in October. Thousands of Scots and those who wish to be ‘Scot for the Day’ from around the world will don their family tartans and gather just a short drive northeast of Atlanta, Georgia to participate in the festivities.One of the premier Scottish festivals in the United States, Stone Mountain Highland Games features colorful pipe bands, Scottish Athletics, piping and drumming competitions, Highland dancers competing before judges of worldwide renown, country dancing, Scottish harping, and fiddling. Scottish foods and drinks, clan tents and vendors selling lovely goods imported from the British Isles, and Celtic performers are also a part of this traditional gathering. Here’s what to expect during this weekend full of culture and fun!CompetitionsIn the old times, the clans would gather for “Games”. These would commonly be in the form of competitions between the clans. The Highland HeaviesArguably the most iconic of the competitive “Games”, Highland Athletes will take their field and spend two full days competing in many of the traditional athletic events. These include The Hammer Throw, The Weight Throw and Weight Toss, The Stone of Strength (featuring a little piece of Stone Mountain), The Sheaf Toss, and The Caber Toss.DancingDancers of all ages from throughout the United States and Canada will take their turn on our special dance stages vying for those coveted prizes awarded for the best performance. Both days will feature the traditional “Highland” dances as well as several Scottish National dances.Pipe BandsIf you like to see the Pipe Bands, then Saturday afternoon is the time! Stone Mountain Highland Games features one of the largest fields of competitive bands in the Southeast. Owing to our strategic placement at the end of the competitive season for the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association, it is typical to see 30 pipe bands from around the country take over the main parade field for an all-afternoon competition.FiddlingThe Stone Mountain Highland Games is pleased to bring a Scottish Fiddling Competition to the Games. This year, they will offer a Junior and Novice competition with plans to expand in the future. The competition will take place at the Fiddle Tent on Saturday.Children’s ActivitiesThe Wee Laddies and Lassies area is a place where kids can enjoy event-wide educational activities! Children’s activities, crafts, entertainment, and athletics are conveniently labeled and located together in a new and expanded area to give them the weekend of their lives. Scottish athletic events for children allows them to participate in kid-sized traditional Scottish athletic activities. There are a wide variety of Scottish-themed fun activities including the Haggis Hurl, Brave™ Archery Shooting Range, the Sheep Toss, Scottish Salmon Fishing Challenge, Scotch Egg Drop, and the St. Andrew’s Golf Challenge. The Scottish-themed crafts include DIY sporrans, Loch Ness Monster sock puppets, beaded necklaces and bracelets, swords and shields, sand art, canvas crafts, and coloring pages. This is also where you will find face painting!ExhibitsScottish and Celtic culture is as rich and varied as its people. Interests range from the practical day to day living of agricultural work to the sheer joy of dancing. Spread around the field, guests are encouraged to observe, learn, and participate in many of the cultural exhibits!Scottish Country DancingScottish Country Dancing is the traditional ballroom and barn dancing of Scotland. Performed round the room or in longwise or square sets, one can see the intricate patterns of the dance unfold as the dancers step in time to the elegance and strength of the Strathspey, or the energy and agility of the jigs and reels, displayed as the couples progress through the dance.Tartan ForestLocated just behind the Country Dance platform is a veritable forest of Tartans, Clan and family crests, and heritage. The St. Andrews Society of Atlanta tends and nurtures this forest of wool so others can see, experience, and explore the world that is wrapped in a Tartan.FalconryThroughout the ages the fascination of a working alliance between man and hawk has never lost its appeal. The grandest birds were reserved for Kings and Emperors as only they could afford the time and money necessary to train and maintain them, but lesser hawks of all descriptions were kept by humbler folk to help keep their Larders filled.Scottish Spinning and WeavingSpinning and weaving were essential skills in 18th century highlander life. Cold, wet weather necessitated that highlanders understand how to raise sheep, process wool and fabricate the fibers into wearable and warm items. Demonstrators will show you how it’s done and what the finished products look like. Today, spinning and weaving are skills done for pleasure and artistic design rather than necessity. MusicVariety is the key to the musical offerings you will experience while at Stone Mountain Highland Games. Their music committee volunteers work hard to provide a widely varied offering of top-notch musical acts to the festival stages. With three stages located throughout the grounds, there will be plenty of music for every taste.Stage 1 houses contemporary music groups. Here the power and up-tempo beat of contemporary music wed to Celtic themes and instrumentation can be found.Stage 2 offers a more powerful musical offering fusing traditional offerings with contemporary themes and instruments.Stage 3 features traditional acoustic music.ShoppingThe Highland Games evolved from the annual gathering of the people at the end of the harvest. Farmers would bring their produce to sell and merchants would bring goods and wares for the farmers to buy. Stone Mountain Highland Games is proud to continue that tradition with a large selection and some of the finest vendors and artisans of Scottish and Celtic items in the United States. Visitors can enjoy browsing through the vendors and artisans’ tents to find that perfect item for a gift for someone special or to add to your Celtic collection.AdmissionSingle-day tickets are available for purchase online or on-park. You will also need a daily or annual parking pass to enter Stone Mountain Park.Stone Mountain Highland Games takes place on the third weekend of October each year. This special celebration is sure to be one you won’t forget!