MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Highlands food, music, culture and one-of-a-kind sports are coming to Myrtle Beach Friday and Saturday. The opening ceremonies for the Second Annual Myrtle Beach Highland Games and Heritage Festival kicks off Friday night at 6.
The event is happening at Grand Park at Market Common this Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25. The Highland Games are popular throughout the Carolinas, which is what prompted Festival Director Todd Cartner to bring them to Myrtle Beach.
Cartner said the Scottish people in America first came to Scotland County, North Carolina. The county is right across the South Carolina state line. With a strong Scottish presence in the area, he said it was only fitting to bring the games to Myrtle Beach.
The games and heritage festival were estimated to bring in about 2,000 people in its inaugural year, 2016. Cartner said over 6,000 people showed up. Festival organizers are expecting about 10,000 people in attendance this year.
The festival will be rich in Celtic tradition from bagpipe music, dancing, jewelry and clothing to the food and traditional Scottish beer. Be warned, Cartner said it will be different than anything you've tried.
Although in its second year, there are new attractions to this year's festival. Cartner said there will be a nine-hole miniature putt-putt course, a merchandise castle and British car display. The goal is to keep adding more visitors, performers, athletes and vendors each year. There are already new events in the works for the 2018 festival.
Cartner said the games and festival in 2018 will feature a Run of the Gingers, world record-breaking kilt run, a 5k and the festival will grow to be two days, instead of only one. He said organizers plan to also add Junior Games, to get teenagers interested in the Celtic sports. As organizers and athletes age, he said less Celtic events are happening. Cartner hopes to inspire younger generations to carry the traditions on.
There will be eight sporting events this year. A few traditional events include the caber toss, weights, sheaf toss and hammer throw. Seven large entertainment areas will feature fields and stages for sporting, dog herding, music, dancing and vendor events. You can expect to find Celtic kilts and jewelry for sale, as well as traditional Highland food, including a whiskey tasting. Booths for the family 'clans' will also be set-up.
Opening ceremonies begin Friday at 6 with a live music festival and a parade of the clans. It ends at 10 p.m. The opening ceremony is free to all.
The Second Annual Myrtle Beach Highland Games and Heritage Festival begins Saturday morning at 9 and ends at 5 p.m. Parking is available at the ITAP parking lot, with a free shuttle to the festival. Ticket prices vary. Click here to go to the event's official website.
WMBF News is a sponsor of the festival. Be sure to visit the WMBF News booth and say hello!