LAURINBURG – Thousands of people flocked to the County of Scotland on Saturday for the annual Scottish County Highland Games.
After being unable to host the event in 2020 due to the pandemic, the numbers appear to have doubled for the event based on preliminary numbers.
“Our presale numbers in 2019 were around 575 and this year we have sold over 2,000 tickets online,” said Cory Hughes, Scotland County Tourism Director. “So it’s about four times better for the presale tickets alone and not counting what was sold on the day of.”
The confirmed number of tickets sold at the gate is still not complete, but Hughes estimates it was between 1,500 and 2,000, bringing the total number of people at the event to between 4,500 and 5,000.
“In 2019, we had about 3,500 total, so we’re about 1,000 above what we did in 2019,” Hughes said. “Overall it was a great day, especially from a tourist point of view. Our hotels were full and thousands of people came to the county and spent money, which is great for our county.
According to Highland Games President Bill Caudill, there were 48 clans – the honored clan this year being the McInnes Clan – as well as 17 bagpipe groups, 62 Highland dancers, 78 solo pipers or drummers, and 36 athletes. With those numbers, it creates the biggest pipe band competition in the northern hemisphere.
“Digitally, it’s the biggest thing held in the United States, Canada or Scotland,” Caudill said. “The closest is 12 and we have 17. There were a lot of people who wanted to come in and be a part of this and we are writing history, it won’t last forever but it could be until the end of. the calendar year in which we set the standard here in the County of Scotland. ”
Caudill has been the president of the games for 13 years and hasn’t seen a crowd like this since he started, which he added was great, especially after not being in the games l ‘last year.
“It’s like Christmas for me today,” Caudill said. “It’s quite spectacular to be here and see this crowd today. It’s definitely the biggest crowd we’ve ever had since I’ve been president. Everyone is happy and happy to be out of the house. Everyone respects the rules and enjoys the good weather. It met, if not exceeded my expectations.
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