Scottish Games
Greenville’s Gallabrae Scottish Games festival. Photo provided by Gallabrae.

More than 20,000 people are expected to show up for Greenville’s 14th annual Scottish Games celebration on Memorial Day weekend.

The event’s founders named the Scottish celebration “Gallabrae” — the root words being the Gaelic “galla,” meaning party, and “brae,” meaning hill, which directly translate to “party in the hills.”

A Scottish parade kicks off the weekend events at 6 p.m. May 24 on Main Street in downtown Greenville. The rest of the events start at 8:30 a.m. May 25 on Furman University’s campus.

Jay Spivey, a board member of Gallabrae, said one of the biggest attractions is the military salute at 11 a.m. Members of the Royal Highland Fusiliers — Scotland’s division of the British Army — are brought in to participate.

“It’s a tribute to all the people that have given their lives for their country, but it’s also a tribute to our greatest ally in the British Army — basically the Scots,” Spivey said.

Scottish Games
Greenville’s Gallabrae Scottish Games festival. Photo provided by Gallabrae.

Spivey said the event is the second biggest economic impact festival in Greenville, behind Artisphere. Events range from telephone pole tosses to the Celtic Jam concert — Thomas Creek Brewery even has its special Gallabrae Scottish Ale for the occasion.

Hundreds of participants and Scottish descendants show up in pleated kilts with patterns representing their ancestors’ clans.

“We’re a very unique and different kind of event, and it is huge,” Spivey said. “In the Upstate of South Carolina, we have one of the greatest concentrations of Scottish immigrants in the country.”

Scottish Games
Graphic by Stephanie Orr
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