The New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival
The New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival, the “largest and most diverse Scottish cultural festival in the Northeast,” is tucked inside an enchanting setting.
“We’re at Loon Mountain ski resort surrounded by nothing but the White Mountains, which sort of brings everybody home to Scotland,” says professional pipe major and the Games’ executive director, Patti Nisco. “You’ve got a little mist in the morning so that it really makes you feel like somewhere faraway.”
The site is even more picturesque with the addition of an 11-foot tall Scottish Standing Stone donated by Swenson Granite Works, first unveiled in 2012 and permanently installed in 2013. Piper and graphic designer Kevin Wisehart created the artwork on its face.
The Stone’s paver garden will be unveiled at the 39th Games this September 19-21. A number of people have already purchased inscribed tiles to remember a loved one, a fond memory or to show their support. “We have a fellow from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who met his wife at the Games, so he’s done a paver to commemorate their meeting,” beams Nisco as an example.
Net proceeds from ongoing paver sales will go to the NHSCOT Foundation and its programs, like scholarships and workshops, which foster Scottish heritage.
The enthusiasm to share memories round the Scottish Standing Stone demonstrates that despite the event’s tremendous growth over the years—with its now impressive range of competitions, stellar line-up of Scottish and North American performers and over 30 pipe bands and 60 Clans attending—the New Hampshire Highland Games maintains that strong feeling of kinship, community and warmth it did nearly four decades ago.
“It was a little festival that our founder, Evelyn Murray, decided to start,” recounts Nisco. “It was so that people who were like minded and enjoyed the Scottish scene could get together and celebrate their heritage.”