LINVILLE, N.C. (AP) — As clouds rolled in, more than 100 men and women dressed in traditional Scottish attire stood and announced their families' arrival for the 62nd Grandfather Mountain Highland Games during a torchlight opening ceremony for a weekend of competition, music and friendship.
Each member announced their clan's name and placed a torch in a cross. After the clans were announced, the group formed a circle, held hands and prayed.
The games began Friday in the fog and rain — typical Scottish weather — but that didn't dampen the competition.
"If I don't get wet and muddy, I didn't try" said Sara Fleming, of Raleigh.
Men and women competed in traditional Scottish events such as the hammer throw, weight toss and the caber toss.
"There's nothing like it," said K'hall Lesemann, of Rock Hill, South Carolina.
John Ferguson manned the Ferguson Clan's tent, one of 124 clan tents circling MacRae Meadows in Linville, about 110 miles northwest of Charlotte.
Ferguson has attended the games for 36 years and greeted people with stories about the Fergusons of Scotland.
"The scenery, the music, the people, it's a great place to be," he said.
Spectators watched demonstrations of sheep herding, highland dancing and listened to different bands and solo musicians perform among the large rocks and trees in two groves near the field. They also scarfed down traditional Scottish foods such as shepherd's pie and Scottish eggs and haggis.