The mission of the Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games is to preserve the heritage and culture of Scotland by fostering national and international sporting, dancing and music competition, as well as cultural performances of the Scottish clans, education, folklore, music, arts, piping, drumming, athletic events and other festivities in the area. The SMSFG shall remain a viable leader in family entertainment and good stewards of our assets, giving back to the community.
Originally founded in 1981 as the Gatlinburg Scottish Festival and Games, the Games are one of the oldest Scottish festivals in the country. In 2010, a new home was established in the city of Maryville, Tennessee on the grounds of historic Maryville College, home of "The Scots." In 2022, we moved the event to a larger venue in Townsend, just outside the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
As the oldest Highland games in Tennessee, the Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games celebrate the one in five Tennesseans who can trace their roots directly to the Scots-Irish immigrants who were the original settlers of western North Carolina and east Tennessee in the 18th century.
From 1710 to 1775, historians estimate that from 200,000-500,000 Scots emigrated from Ulster to the original 13 American colonies. The largest numbers went to Pennsylvania. From there, large numbers migrated south to Appalachia. They had little money so the frontier areas of Virginia, the Carolinas and Tennessee offered opportunity and freedom.
The Scots-Irish were generally warmly received and noted for their honesty, independence of spirit and ability to work hard. These adventurous settlers brought with them their traditions of storytelling, singing, dancing and distilling whiskey.
Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games is a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.