Games Schedule

How To Get Games Information:

If you'd like to know more about Clan Cunningham International's activities at specific USA events, e-mail the host at the address shown below. If you're looking for information about the games themselves (tickets, schedules, maps, etc.), click on the website link provided. If there's no link, feel free to contact the host for more information.

So, What Goes On At A Scottish Highland Game? (a.k.a. "Games FAQ")

Whether you're a games newcomer or you've been attending since you were a "wee bairn", you might find the information on our Games FAQ page helpful. It contains a guideline on things to bring, ticketing, parking, food, and accommodations along with information on Scottish attire.

How To Host A Tent:

If you're interested in hosting a tent for Clan Cunningham International, please email us at clancunninghamintl@gmail.com.  It's easier than you think and we'll provide the information and materials you'll need to have a great weekend. Let us hear from you!!!

Triennial Meetings:

Every three years, Clan Cunningham Intl. hosts a triennial meeting. These meetings are a place for all Cunninghams to gather and celebrate our common heritage, renew old acquaintances, make new friends, and set the course of the organization for the next three years. At the annual meeting, new officers are elected and if needed, by-laws are amended. Several social gatherings are also held during the weekend. Location of the event changes each time to allow for greater participation by all members
Triennial Meetings Schedule

2004 - Atlanta GA - Stone Mountain Highland Games
2007 - Glasgow KY - Glasgow Highland Games
2010 - Lincoln NH - Loon Mountain Highland Games
2013 - Pleasanton CA - Pleasanton Highland Games
2016 - Fergus Highland Games Canada
​2019 - Scotland - Caprington Castle

Highland Games FAQ

Highland Games are great fun for people of all ages and an excellent way for you and your family to learn more about Scottish history. You don't have to be Scottish to attend and you don't have to wear a kilt! All you need is an admission ticket and a desire to have a great day.

In the U. S., there are numerous highland games going on throughout the year. A good listing can be found at the Association of Scottish Games and Festivals website. Every event is different and customs vary across the country; however, there are certain things that most games have in common. They're listed here to make your visit a special one.

WHAT IS A SCOTTISH CLAN AND HOW DO I FIND MINE? 

The term "clan" comes from the Scottish Gaelic word "clann" which means "children". The concept of  "children" (or "family") has bonded the Scottish people together for centuries. It also caused some of the bloodiest battles ever witnessed.

Scottish clans are formed around a common surname (last name) and those clans either lived in the highlands or lowlands; giving rise to the terms "highland clan" and "lowland clan". In reality, only highland families lived in the clan society we think of today. Lowland families also formed alliances around their surname but followed a looser governing structure; however, it should be noted that over 70% of all Scottish surnames don't belong to a clan at all but rather to one of the Scottish District Families.

Don't worry if you get to the games before you've located your clan or district family. You don't have to know this ahead of time. The folks at COSCA (Council of Scottish Clans & Associations) have the most accurate reference materials to help you find your Scottish connection. They often have representatives at many games.

If it turns out your last name isn't Scottish, don't let that stop you from participating. Many societies welcome affiliate members. As long as you're interested in supporting the goals and programs of that particular organization, you can enjoy the benefits of membership regardless of your ethnicity. (Clan Cunningham International is one such group. We'd love to have you join us! Just visit our membership page for more information.)

By the way: An excellent, in-depth guide on Scottish Clans is the "Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia" by George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire. Check it out.

THINGS TO BRING

Games are held in a wide variety of locations at various times of day and night. Here are some things you may want to have on hand:
  • Folding chair
  • Ground cloth if you plan to sit on the ground
  • Flashlight if attending evening events 
  • Sturdy walking shoes
  • Cash for tickets, parking, food, and shopping. Not everyone takes credit cards.
  • Sunscreen
  • Rain gear
  • Backpack or rolling tote bag to carry your gear and purchases

TICKETS

As with many events, you can usually purchase tickets in advance and save money. Check the games website for details or call the office for information. If you're attending the entire event, you may find that purchasing a Patron or Sponsor package will also give you some nice VIP perks - such as reserved parking or access to a hospitality tent.

PARKING & ACCESSIBILITY

Parking at a highland game can be an adventure in itself. Usually, the best parking spaces are reserved for those who purchase Patron or Sponsor packages. For everyone else, parking options vary. Smaller games may allow you to park next to the field but larger ones may require you to park offsite and take a shuttle. In either case, be prepared to walk some distance and carry whatever items you're bringing...which is why we recommend backpacks or rolling totes. Make sure to bring money for parking or the shuttle if you don't have a parking pass.

Games officials are happy to provide services for those with special needs. Often, this includes transportation to your clan tent via golf cart. Keep in mind that games aren't always 100% handicapped accessible but motorized scooters and wheelchairs navigate many areas without difficulty. If you have special needs, contact the games office before you arrive. They'll do everything possible to assist and make your visit a pleasant one.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Highland games have a faithful following. In many cities where hotel space is limited (i.e. small towns or rural locations), reservations are made six months to a year in advance. If your event falls into this category, we strongly urge you to make reservations early.

FOOD

Food selections vary significantly depending on the vendors present. In many cases, you'll often find traditional Scottish fare such as meat pies, scotch eggs, fish & chips, scones and shortbread.

Beyond this, food choices vary significantly. Persons with special dietary preferences may find it difficult to locate appropriate items. If you're in this category, it may be best to bring your own snack.

Concerning Alcoholic Beverages: Alcohol consumption is regulated by county law and the games committee. Some games are alcohol-free while others allow it to be served by vendors, in hospitality tents, or at whiskey-tasting seminars. The only way to know is to check with the games office in advance.

Final Food Note: Don't forget to bring cash. Not all food vendors take credit cards.

ACTIVITIES

The variety of events offered at a highland game depend largely on size. The larger the attendance, the more activities available.

Many games include some type of heavy athletics, such as the caber toss, sheaf toss, and hammer throw. These athletics can be for amateurs or professionals. Entertainment can range from bagpipe, harp, or highland dance competitions to bands playing Scottish folk songs or Celtic rock. Often, there are demonstrations by Scottish country dancers, historical reenactors, or border collie teams. For a full schedule of events, check the games website. Better yet, purchase a souvenir program when you arrive.

As you might expect, highland games are full of ceremony that produce goose bumps and raise your Scottish pride. Most games open and close with an impressive event involving all participating bagpipe bands - called a "massed band". Some hold a Parade of Tartans where the members of each clan are announced to spectators and honored guests as they march together around the parade field. Still others hold a Torchlight Ceremony or Calling Of The Clans. Usually held on opening night, this program recalls the ancient days when the clans gathered in Scotland. Clan representatives come forward to the sound of bagpipes; announcing their clan's arrival at the games while adding their torch to a large bonfire or Saltire cross. It's a beautiful thing to see.

VISITING YOUR CLAN TENT

Once you arrive at the game, make your clan tent the first stop. Here, you'll be greeted by friendly faces who want to extend a warm welcome and also learn invaluable information about your family's Scottish connection.

Most clans have a guestbook they'd like you to sign. This keeps a record of how many people stopped by and clarifies demographics for that particular event. Signing does not obligate you to join the organization but some clans will use the information to add you to their mailing list. If you don't want to be contacted, just let them know.

Clan societies are all-volunteer organizations and generally have small operating funds. They live and die by their paid memberships so if possible, make the effort and join while you're there. Annual dues are inexpensive (about the cost of a simple dinner for two people) and membership offers wonderful new friends along with continuing information about your heritage.

CLOTHING

One of the most frequent questions we hear is, "What do I wear to the games?" The answer? Anything you want to! Now that we've settled that, here are some things that can help you blend in with the locals.

First of all, we recommend that both men and women get a copy of  "So You're Going To Wear The Kilt"  by J. Charles Thompson. This is the definitive reference for proper Scottish attire and will keep you from making many social and stylistic errors connected with Scottish clothing. This information can be essential if you choose to dress in a more traditional manner or attend formal Scottish events. Reading it will help you know the rules before you decide to break them and will help you avoid fashion faux pas.

MEN

EVERYDAY WEAR

Let's get this out of the way now: The majority of men at the games will be wearing a kilt but there are still a number who do not. If you're uncomfortable wearing a kilt, you may find khakis or jeans along with a shirt embroidered with your clan insignia to be a popular alternative. These shirts can be purchased online (see our Links page) or from vendors at the games.

Another popular option is a vest over a Jacobite or Kilt/Clansman shirt (period-style muslin shirt that laces up with leather or fabric). This lends a more historic look while still working well with either jeans or kilts. And don't forget your hat. A Balmoral or Glengarry with clan badge pin is worn by many men - kilt or no kilt. So the choices are varied and up to you.

KILTS and TRADITIONAL SCOTTISH ATTIRE

If you choose to invest in a kilt, do some online research and talk to the many vendors at the games before buying. A kilt is an expensive investment but one that will offer many years of wear if cared for properly.

Several variations of kilt-wear are seen at the games. Some men stick to traditional styles but others prefer the look made popular by "Braveheart" and "Rob Roy" known as the great kilt, highland kilt, or breacan feile. Another type of kilt that's quickly gaining popularity is the Utilikilt. These are very trendy and often less expensive; however, they're only appropriate for casual situations and should not be worn as formal attire.

The great kilt is worn in lieu of a traditional kilt and is essentially a 4 - 6 yard long piece of tartan fabric that's 55 - 60 inches wide (length depends on body size). It's gathered and pleated around a belt; wrapping the body in such a manner as to finish by hanging from the shoulder. The great kilt is normally worn with a Jacobite/Clansman shirt. It takes a good bit of practice to get it placed correctly and you might need assistance the first few times. Questions? You'll find plenty of helpful advice by asking around at the games.

When worn properly, the great kilt is a very unique method of historical dress but can require periodic attention throughout the day to stay neat. A two-part lengthy but detailed video on how to make the great kilt can be found on You Tube at http://tinyurl.com/23oqp3h and http://tinyurl.com/2wowvzp.
There are a number of kilt accessories you'll see at the games. Some are appropriate for everyone but others are worn only by clan chiefs, drum majors or to extremely formal events. So, don't get a ticket from the fashion police! Check with your kilt supplier or refer to "So You're Going To Wear The Kilt".

A Final Note: Jokes are never ending about what a gentleman wears or doesn't wear under his kilt. You'll find that the choices range from nothing at all (often called "going regimental"), to bike shorts, regular shorts, swim trunks or boxers. The choice is most definitely up to you.

WOMEN

Like the men, women should also feel free to wear whatever is comfortable for them; however, those who choose to wear “something Scottish” generally fall into one of two categories: everyday dress or period/historical costume.

EVERYDAY DRESS

You’ll see a wide variety of everyday clothing at the games; from jeans to jumpers and everything in between. Clan-wear accessories such as tartan sashes, tams and clan crest pins are worn by almost everyone. These items are readily available and aren't terribly expensive. A frequently seen item is a cape, shawl or ruana in tartan fabric. Another favorite is a pleated skirt; found in knee length (“kilted skirt”) or ankle length (“hostess skirt”) versions.

For those who sew, tartan material can be made into a number of unique items that are both appropriate and comfortable. Tartan skirts, jumpers, vests and blazers are frequently seen at the games. Fabric is available from a number of online sources and comes in various weights of wool, cotton and occasionally, raw silk, flannel or taffeta. Looking for fabric? One highly recommended vendor is The Scottish Weaver.  

Finally, women who attend formal Scottish affairs or who are involved in Scottish Country Dancing usually have specific dress requirements. These are well explained in “So You’re Going To Wear The Kilt”.

PERIOD/HISTORICAL COSTUME

Many women enjoy wearing period/historical costumes to the games. While occasionally cumbersome, it's quite striking and looks good on all body types. If you choose to wear period costume, you won’t feel out of place because there are women of all ages - teens to great grandmothers - who’ve chosen to do the same.

Generally, there are two approaches you can take if you want to wear costume. For lack of a better term, we'll describe them as the "popular" style and the "reenactor" style. Both have components that date between the mid 1600's to late 1700's and both appear to be historically accurate; however, students of costume history will find errors in the "popular" style. So, decide which way you want to go before you buy anything. Either way, you can often find wardrobe components at the games or online at Chivalry Sports Renaissance Store, Museum Replicas Ltd., or Jas. Townsend and Son.

If you choose the "reenactor" style, a good starting point is "Dressing for the '45: Assembling A Basic 18th Century Scottish Woman's Costume", copyright 2003 M. E. Riley.

If you opt for the "popular" look, you'll need the following wardrobe components:

Chemise: a long-sleeve muslin or linen shift with gathered neckline and sleeves. Looks like an old fashioned nightgown. Usually ankle length but women who attend games in hotter climates have been known to cut them off at the waist. Color should be natural muslin or complimentary to your tartan.

Bodice: a lace-up vest that's worn over the chemise. Usually made from heavy cotton, tartan, velvet, suede, or tapestry. Solid color bodices should match the clan tartan. At highland games, the bodice is more conservative as opposed to the lower-cut style frequently seen at Renaissance faires.

Skirt: ankle length and very full. Worn over the chemise. Made of heavy cotton or tartan. Solid colors may match or contrast the bodice as long as they're compatible with the clan tartan. Skirts can be split down the front to reveal the long chemise underneath and can also have a contrasting overskirt. Hoops should not be worn with this style of period dress.

Bonnet (hat): usually a tam (beret) in solid wool or tartan. Sometimes, a snood is worn in place of a bonnet.

Arisaidh: (pronounced air-say). An outer wrap made from tartan material. Almost identical to the man's great kilt, the main difference is that the women's version is ankle length instead of knee length. Arisaidhs are made from two to three yards of 45 - 60" wide tartan fabric (amount varies according to the wearer's height and size) and require a leather belt or tie at the waist.

Making the Arisaidh: At one end of the fabric, the left and right corners are tied together in a small knot and the right arm is run through the opening; allowing the yardage to hang from the right shoulder. A belt is secured at the waist on top of the fabric. The fabric is then pulled up under the belt until it lines up with the bottom of the skirt (or a few inches higher). This will create a large, draping fold. Then, the fabric under the belt is spread evenly around the waist in soft gathers all the way to the front; essentially creating an overskirt with a front slit and a large, draping piece hanging from the right shoulder. Finally, a clan pin, brooch, or penannualar can be added at the shoulder to secure everything in place.

In Conclusion: there are some negatives to wearing costume; most notably restrooms, weather conditions and driving. However, despite the potential drawbacks, wearing period costume makes the event even more special and ultimately, you'll be glad you made the extra effort.

2016 CCI Games Schedule

March 3-5, 2017
North Texas Irish Festival
Dallas, Tx
CCI Hosts: 
March 4, 2017
Southeast Florida Scottish Festival & Highland Games
Fort Lauderdale, FL
CCI Host: 
March 10-12, 2017
Sonora Celtic Faire
Sonora, CA
CCI Host: Kelly Cunningham
March 25, 2017
Sherman Celtic Festival & Highland Games
Sherman, TX
CCI Host: Jerry & Kathy Lester
April 8-9, 2017
Rural Hill Scottish Festival & Loch Norman Highland Games (NC)
Huntersville, NC
CCI Host: 
April 29-30, 2017
Sacramento Valley Scottish Games
Woodland, CA
CCI Host: Kelly Cunningham
May 27-28, 2017
Costa Mesa Scottish Festival and Highland Games (CA)
Costa Mesa, CA
CCI Host: Michael Cunningham & Family
June 3, 2017
Old Orchard Beach Scottish Festival
Old Orchard Beach, ME
CCI Host: Dr. Bill Cunningham 
June 3, 2017
Cancelled, due to flooding

Modesto Scottish Games(CA)
Tuolumne River Regional Park
Modesto, CA
CCI Host: Kelly Cunningham
June , 2017
Round Hill Highland Games
Cranbury Park, Norwalk, CT
CCI Hosts: Don & Sandy Morissette
July 6-9, 2017
Grandfather Mountain Highland Games
MacRae Meadows
Linville, NC
Volunteers Needed, contact David Pickens
July 15,2017
Glasgow Lands Scottish Festival
Florence (Northampton), MA.
CCI Hosts: Don & Sandy Morissette
July 15, 2017
Cambridge Scottish Festival
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
CCI Hosts: Nancy Cunningham
August 6-7, 2017
Monterey Scottish Games & Celtic Festival (CA)
Monterey County Fairgrounds, Monterey, CA
CCI Host: 
August 12-13, 2017
Fergus Scottish Festival
Fergus-Ontario Canada
CCI Hosts: Nancy & Mary Cunningham
August 19, 2017
Maine Highland Games (ME)
Brunswick, ME
CCI Hosts: 
September 2-3, 2017
Pleasanton Highland Games (CA)
Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton, CA
CCI Host: Kelly Cunningham
September 2-3, 2017
Capital District Highland Games
Altamont Fairgrounds
Altamont, NY
CCI Hosts: ​
September , 2017
Columbus Scottish Festival (IN)
Bartholomew County Fairgrounds, Columbus, IN
CCI Hosts: 
September 15-17, 2017
New Hampshire Highland Games
Lincoln, NH
CCI Hosts: Don & Sandy Morissette
September 30, 2017
Dixon Scottish Games
Dixon, CA.
CCI Hosts:
October 8, 2017
Scotland Highland Games
Scotland, CT
CCI Hosts: Don & Sandy Morissette
October , 2017 (TBA)
Indianapolis Scottish Highland Games & Festival (IN)
German Park, Indianapolis IN
CCI Hosts: 
October 20-22, 2017
Stone Mountain Highland Games (GA)
Stone Mountain Park, Stone Mtn. GA (east Atlanta area)
CCI Host: David Pickens & Catherine Olson
November , 2017 (TBA)
Salado Scottish Gathering & Highland Games
Salado Civic Center, Salado, Texas
CCI Host: Jerry & Kathy Lester