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  1. #11
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    Very nice photos.

    I don't think most Highland Games want to be considered to be Renaissance Fairs, in fact it must have been on this site that I once saw much resentment expressed over the fact that people were showing up at those fairs wearing highland attire. Which is not to say that I agree that the kilt is so sacred mind you, but the idea was it was bad to wear one as a costume, as on Halloween, and Ren Fairs are most definitely cosplay events.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance_fair

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    LoE

  3. #12
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    GMHG NOT a ren-fair

    The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games is not a ren-fair. Here's the website Grandfather Mountain Highland Games – The Official Website of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and Gathering O' Scottish Clans (gmhg.org). Although some people who attend may dress in costumes, most do not.
    I posted this meet up of XMarkers in another thread. This is how most kilted folk dress at the Games.

    Allen Sinclair, FSA Scot
    Eastern Region Vice President
    North Carolina Commissioner
    Clan Sinclair Association (USA)

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  5. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASinclair View Post
    The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games is not a ren-fair. Here's the website Grandfather Mountain Highland Games – The Official Website of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and Gathering O' Scottish Clans (gmhg.org). Although some people who attend may dress in costumes, most do not.
    I posted this meet up of XMarkers in another thread. This is how most kilted folk dress at the Games.

    Thank you for the clarification. I must admit to being a little confused by the assorted pictures.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  7. #14
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    • A renaissance fair celebrates 16th culture generally. A rebirth from the dark ages.
    • A Highland Games festival celebrates Scottish culture in particular.

    There is some overlap, though they are different. Both are fun to attend.

    If one gets the chance to attend either, just do it. Everyone is having a blast at these festivals. That's my experience.
    Last edited by LoE; 31st July 22 at 05:58 PM.

  8. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoE View Post
    • A renaissance fair celebrates 16th culture generally. A rebirth from the dark ages.
    • A Highland Games festival celebrates Scottish culture in particular.

    There is some overlap, though they are different. Both are fun to attend.

    If one gets the chance to attend either, just do it. Everyone is having a blast at these festivals. That's my experience.

    I am afraid that we shall have to agree to differ on the above. Sorry.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

  9. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    Could this show/gathering/games be described as a Ren Fair?
    I attended the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games three or four years in a row back in the 1980s and at that time it was, as I recall, a Highland Games more or less the same as I have attended in Scotland.

    A small Games, there was only one stage for the Highland Dancing competition and there was no Pipe Band competition.

    A couple Pipe Bands were there for entertainment purposes.

    I think the biggest difference between Scottish and USA Highland Games are the rows of Clan booths, where people hang out and chat and drink (except at Grandfather Mountain where no alcohol was allowed) and people explore their genealogy. Grandfather Mountain had the most Clan booths I've ever seen! The region was heavily settled by Scots.

    Another difference was a small stage where a Scottish singer/guitarist performed on and off all day.

    About the Ren Fair component, when I started attending USA Highland Games in the 1970s there was none, and as I said apart from the Clan booths the Games were the same as Scottish ones.

    However given the huge popularity of Ren Fairs (which really took off in the 1970s and 1980s) it was a matter of time, I suppose, that the Ren Fair people would start attending USA Highland Games in costume.

    Nowadays a common component of many USA Highland Games is a Ren Fair encampment, though not immediately visible to people entering the Games as these encampments are usually in a corner of the festival grounds. In many USA Games I attend it would be possible for somebody to visit the Games, watch the athletics, watch the Highland Dancing, the Pipe Band competition, the sheep dogs, the Clan booths, watch the folk bands and "Celtic rock" bands on the stage, visit the vendors and not be aware of the existence of the Ren Fair people.

    Years ago it dawned on me that a Highland Games newcomer might walk around a USA Games and feel like they're seeing "the Scottish community" but in fact our Games are gatherings of several separate communities which often have little or no interaction with each other.

    The Pipe Band people have their encampment in one corner where they hang out with each other all day, except when they compete during the March Past or Opening Ceremony etc.

    Likewise the athletes, the Scottish fiddle people, the Scottish harp people, the Highland Dance people, the Country Dance people, the Clan people, the sheep dog people, and the Ren people tend to hang out in their various camps.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 1st August 22 at 04:40 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  11. #17
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    Thank you OCR for your experienced view and general
    description of North American ———— perhaps more accurately USA? ————Highland Games. As you describe it so well, it clearly appears that apart from the actual Games part , piping and Highland dancing there is a huge difference between one side of the Atlantic and the other to what a Highland Games actually is.
    I wonder what visitors from afar think of the assorted Highland Games that we put on over here. Disappointed? Shocked? Accepting? Amazed at the small scale of the event? Surprised at the lack of kilts worn by the spectators?
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 2nd August 22 at 01:01 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  13. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    Thank you OCR for your experienced view and general
    description of North American ———— perhaps more accurately USA? ————Highland Games. As you describe it so well, it clearly appears that apart from the actual Games part , piping and Highland dancing there is a huge difference between one side of the Atlantic and the other to what a Highland Games actually is.
    I wonder what visitors from afar think of the assorted Highland Games that we put on over here. Disappointed? Shocked? Accepting? Amazed at the small scale of the event? Surprised at the lack of kilts worn by the spectators?
    You are quite right in distinguishing between USA highland games and Canadian events. Here in Canada, the clan tents are generally far fewer and not nearly as big a part of the event. Indeed, it is really only in the past 30-35 years that I have noticed an increase in the number of clan tents at Canadian highland games. This is probably caused by the influence of the USA-style highland games. Nevertheless, even most recently, I have not noticed more than about half a dozen clan tents.

    The "ren faire" aspect of many USA games is also largely absent from the Canadian version. Apart from the appearance of the military re-enactors of the 78th Fraser Highlanders (nothing to do with the famous grade 1 pipe band of the same name), who generally put on a brief show of 18th/19th century military drill that culminates in the firing of an antique cannon, the "ren faire" aspect is generally absent. The 78th Fraser Highlanders re-enactors have units across Canada and participate in a good many highland games

    Probably the biggest difference between Canadian and Scottish highland games is the pipe band competitions that are a major feature in Canada and usually absent from the Scottish games. Otherwise, in my experience, the two versions are very similar.

    Here in Canada, as in Scotland, very few highland games spectators are kilted. One has the impression of a large number of kilts, but that is mostly because of the presence of numerous pipe bands, whose members are, of course, kilted and mingle among the spectators when not tuning up or actually playing. One will usually find a preponderance of kilted people in the beer tent! (Another difference that comes to mind here is that one can sit in a Canadian beer tent, which is usually equipped with both tables and chairs, as opposed to having to stand in the Scottish equivalent.)

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  15. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    I wonder what visitors from afar think of the assorted Highland Games that we put on over here.
    In Scotland with a pipe band competing at Scottish Highland Games I have a skewed perspective, because we were there solely for the pipe band aspect.

    At our first Games, North Berwick, what amazed us was first the sheer number of bands.

    80 coaches pulled into their slots in the big car park, each coach disgorging a fully dressed pipe band.

    This was astonishing on two counts, first the quantity of bands (we rarely get 30 even at our larger Games) and second the fact that all the bands hired coaches and travelled in full uniform. Here we drive individually and oftentimes arrive in ordinary clothes.

    The next thing that amazed us about North Berwick was that it only dated to 1996. Our most prominent California Highland Games had been held every year from 1866 to 2019. (What two World Wars and the 1918 flu pandemic couldn't do, Covid did: force cancellation.)

    The next day we attended Bridge of Allan Highland Games which had even more pipe bands, over 100.

    It felt more familiar to us in terms of age, having been held continuously since 1863.

    Other than the vast number of pipe bands both these Games felt rather small to us, the size of our smaller Games.

    I did visit a Games similar to those Scottish ones here in the USA, the Colonial Highland Games held in Fair Hill, Maryland.

    Overall it was rather small but it had a large number of pipe bands (for a US Games) including bands which had travelled down from Canada and up from Atlanta.

    One difference I noted between our Western USA Games and Scottish Games on the one hand, and Eastern USA Games on the other, is that some of the Eastern Games have no alcohol permitted on the festival grounds.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  17. #20
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    With regard to people in kilt attire, I have to say I was quite amazed by the number of spectators, including teenaged boys and girls, who were wandering the grounds at the Glengarry Highland Games in Eastern Ontario last weekend. It hit me as soon as we walked through the gates. I don't know if that is a "post-Covid" reality, as this was my first time at these games, but there were enough young men in kilts to stand out. Granted they were the normal acrylic fare from Pakistan, but I give any teen full marks for wearing a kilt. And there were numerous young ladies in billie kilts.

    Just my 2bits.

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