Immerse yourself in Scottish culture at the Charleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering

Over 8,000 guests will gather to celebrate Scottish heritage at the second-oldest event of its kind in the southeast.

A man in full Scottish regalia plays the bagpipe outside at the Charleston Scottish Games and Gathering

Tap your toes to bagpipes and drums at the annual Charleston Scottish Games.

Photo courtesy of the Scottish Society of Charleston

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Which clan do you hail from? What do bagpipes rolling along the Cooper River sound like? What exactly is a sheaf toss?

All these questions can be answered at the 52nd Annual Charleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering on Saturday, Nov. 4. You don’t have to be formally Scottish to participate — the Scottish Society of Charleston says, “You will be considered Scottish for the day.”

Event schedule

Gates open at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Riverfront Park. There’s a lot to explore at this event, but here are some of the highlights:

  • Throughout the day there will be athletic competitions and demonstrations. If you’ve never seen a hammer throw or caber toss, this is your chance.
  • At 9 a.m., the highland dancing competition begins. See talented dancers compete in form, technique, stamina, and strength.
  • The opening ceremonies include a parade of tartans in the North Field at 11:30 a.m.
  • We love a dog with a job. Watch border collies and their handlers show off their herding skills at 1 p.m. in the South Field.

There are also tents where you can learn more about your heritage, Scotch tastings, kids activities, fiddling jam sessions, and tons of live music. Check out the full schedule of events.

A man uses a pitchfork to hurl a burlap bag stuffed over his head at the Scottish Games and Highland Gathering

What you’re looking at is called a “sheaf toss” and involves using a pitchfork to throw a burlap bag.

Photo courtesy of the Scottish Society of Charleston

The details

Parking is free, but entry is ticketed. General admission is $22.50 in advance and $30 day-of. Advance ticket sales end on Friday, Nov. 3, so scoop them up while you can. Buy your tickets online.

Food will be available for purchase, as well as tickets for beer. Peep the vendors.

Leave the pets and coolers behind, but you’re welcome to bring a folding chair.