Pull the kilt out of the closet and dust off your ghillies, the Saltwater Highland Games are back in North Myrtle Beach. This three day festival held the weekend after St. Patrick’s Day celebrates Scottish culture with a famous feat of strength competition and a variety of athletic events in support of local charities and furthering the Celtic heritage. A wide range of activities, games, food, music and entertainment ensure that everyone is sure to have a pure barry time!
Games and Athletic Events
Highland Games have a rich history dating back to old Scotland. Kings would hold competitions of strength to find the best pedigree to join ranks of royal guard and staff. Participants would enter these contests not only in hopes of winning, but to show off the fortitude of their kin in front of other clans as a peaceful display of power.
Today, the Saltwater Highland Games are a celebration of Gaelic traditions that invite all participants to show their might. The games include classics such as the Stone Put, Hammer Throw, Caber Toss, Sheaf Toss and many more. The Boulder Challenge is especially impressive as it tasks contestants to carry the heaviest stone they can for the longest distance possible. These events are as exhilarating to watch as they are grueling to perform. It is truly a sight to behold!
However, heavy athletic events are not the only contests at this North Myrtle Beach festival. There will be a 5K Run/Walk event that benefits the Horry County Special Olympics and – for those who love a little magic – the Chauncey Cup Quidditch Tournament will pit eight colleges against each other to determine who is has the best broom handling skills on the east coast. Brooms up!
Dancing and Dining
Even if you don’t plan to test your strength in any of the athletic events taking place during this weekend-long event, there is more than enough activities, shopping, food and fun to keep you entertained all day.
If you love to dance, you won’t want to miss the Friday night Ceilidh concert. A Ceilidh – pronounced “kay-lee” – in Gaelic loosely translates to a house party. And true to tradition, this bash is full of lively music, food and drink. Guests of all ages are welcome to join in the fun and celebrate the athletes and the start of this year’s event.
Saturday and Sunday, bagpipe and drum bands wander the grounds filling the event with the sights and sounds of old Scotland. If you are a pipe and drum enthusiast, you won’t want to miss the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the first annual Pipe Band Challenge. If something more modern is your style, the Ripley’s Ruckus Drumline will also be in attendance to add even more energy and dazzle audiences.
What would be a Scottish festival without a glass of Scotch? For those who like to indulge, The Mellow Mushroom in North Myrtle Beach will be hosting special event Whiskey Tastings in partnership with the Saltwater Highland Games on Friday and Saturday. Sample five different Scotch Whiskeys as a “Tour of the Land” while enjoying hand-selected food pairings for each. This event is open to anyone 21 years of age or older, but space is limited.
Fun for the Whole Family
Kids don’t just have to sit on the sideline and marvel at the athletes – they have the opportunity to test their skills too! The popular Kids Glen is dedicated for children of all ages to play and try out smaller versions of the major Highland Games events, as well as an assortment of fun, educational activities that teach about Celtic heritage.
New for this year, dog lovers are going to go crazy for the Border Collie Sheep Herding demonstrations. Border Collies are famous for their uncanny ability to coordinate large herds of livestock and were instrumental to the farmers of old Scotland. Not only will audiences see a live demonstration of these impressive skills, but will also learn about how Border Collies helped revolutionize sheep herding over the ages.
The 2018 Saltwater Highland Games runs from Friday, March 23 through Sunday, March 25. Whether you are an athlete, a foody, a social butterfly or anything in between, this North Myrtle Beach event is sure to keep you coming back. Additional information, schedule of events and tickets can be found at MyrtleBeachHighlandGames.com. Admission for some of the events mentioned must be purchased in advance so we highly recommend you get your tickets as soon as possible.
If you plan to attend this Celtic celebration you will be in need of a great North Myrtle Beach resort to relax after a long day of tossing the caber. As a proud Official Resort Sponsor, Oceana Resorts by Wyndham Vacation Rentals is one of the leading vacation rental providers in the Myrtle Beach area offering a wide variety of oceanfront accommodations at affordable rates. Not only do you get a comfortable place to sleep, but you’ll love the exclusive Book Direct Privileges such as free Myrtle Beach attraction tickets, free kid’s meals at resort restaurants, free DVD rentals and so much more. Be sure to check out OceanaResorts.com for your best rates and start planning your Highland adventure.