Highland Games performers dance and fight way into your heart

Rhea County was host to the Scottish Highland games this last weekend, bringing a unique event to the Rhea County area.(Photo:LeahPrice/RheaReview)

Scottish Highland games bring unique event to Rhea County

September 23, 2017

Dayton, TN — The Scottish Highland games finally come to Dayton, Tennessee. I have never been to any highland games. I have seen pictures and read a little about Scotland and its history, but I have never been able to make it to the games.

I spoke with Kent Lawson who organized the event.  I asked him what inspired him to organize the Highland Games in Dayton.  He said that he wanted to bring his heritage and history home to Dayton.   Kent is a wealth of historical information.  I enjoyed learning about how Clan colors came to be, and the reason for the games themselves. I heard two theories on the games. The first was: highlanders were defeated by the British forever ago and they created the games as a way to train without “training.” The second theory is: two drunk Scottish guys were in the bar and said: “I can throw that farther than you.” My favorite is the second. I know he is going to make something great with the Clans and the games as the festival builds each year.

So, did anyone see the dancers? They were from the MacIsaac School of Highland Dance in Athens, TN. Here is a cool bit of information: they are sisters! The sisters do traditional Highland Dancing. I did not know that we had schools in TN that taught traditional dancing. If you would like to learn more information call or text 423-507-4680. Aimee MacIsaac is certified under the B.A.T.D (British Association of Teachers of Dancing).

So, how about those games? I spoke with the athletes. I had no idea that so many were from out of town, but a few train in Chattanooga! I got to throw a 21 pound ball. I was proud to get it as far as I did. I was in awe of the men and women who could throw the weights 21+/- and 20 +/- feet. I had a great time talking with Ms. Dixie and her “family.” She knows her history. she was the one who told me about the two theories on how the games were started. She talked about her family history coming from Scotland. She and the Clans that participated in the festival show so much pride and love for their heritage. I hope they have inspired you all to take a look into your own history. I hope to see more and more festivals like this. I love learning about where we all come from.

Your Friend,
Leah O’Neill

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