Torch Light Ceremony

Thursday evening marks the beginning of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. MacRae Meadows opens at 4:00 p.m.  Food concessions are available, However, visitors to the Games often choose to bring their own picnic. With a flashlight to use later in the evening and a blanket for sitting on the ground, they can enjoy once again the beauty of these mountains. It is a special time and a special place, made more so by the ceremony that follows.........

Raise The Clans

The Expression “raise the clans” has a slightly archaic sound to our ears. It is surrounded by an aura of some long-forgotten appeal to support noble causes or high ideals. From an historic perspective, it was used to summon the clans for battle. We have chosen to transform this ancient act to symbolize a different kind of call to the clans.

The Saltire Cross is recognized as Scotland’s ancient symbol. A living cross of light is made up of a representative from all clans and families who have come to participate. They come from all the points of the compass to indicate their origins and take their place as part of the gathering on this magnificent mountain.

Together they share remembrances and offer thanks. As the torches burn brightly together in the gathering darkness, the haunting sound of pipes is carried into the night. The clans have come again to celebrate who they are.

The Torchlight Ceremony was created by Larry Long, the 1995 recipient of the Agnes MacRae Morton Award.


David McDougall




The popularity of the Torchlight Ceremony requires that the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games make some policy changes relative to the event.  The GMHG staff have exhausted all available resources for a shuttle service for Thursday.  No shuttle provider has been found.

Effective this year (2022), Thursday will be converted to hang tag parking only, as is the case for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday Games parking.  All 2022 Chieftain, Highlander, Clansman patrons, along with clan tent sponsors will receive a special hang tag to permit access and parking at MacRae Meadows.  Hang tags (one to a family) will also be provided to those people who have pre-purchased a 4-day pass or a Thursday ticket online prior to April 15, 2022.  Please note that Chieftain Patrons will be required to display both a Thursday hang tag and the Chieftain hang tag.  The Thursday hang tag will permit entry: the Chieftain hang tag will allow access to your named parking pass. 

Online sales of Thursday tickets have been suspended as of midnight on April 14, 2022.  Online sales of 4-day passes will continue, but NO parking passes will accompany a purchase after April 14, 2022.  Please note that Thursday tickets and 4-day passes WILL be sold at MacRae Meadows, but the purchaser will not be able to park on the Mountain.  The purchaser must ride or car pool with someone possessing a Thursday parking pass.

GMHG appreciates the support of our patrons, sponsors, and customers.  We are doing everything possible to maximize the opportunity for people to attend our Thursday ceremony.  Please help us in this endeavor by car pooling to the greatest extent possible. 

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.


GMHG Corporate Sponsors

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