Grandfather Mountain Highland Games canceled for 2020

J. H. Osborne • May 1, 2020 at 6:30 PM

LINVILLE, N.C. — In a letter posted to the organization’s website, Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, Inc., President Steve Quillen has announced cancellation of this year’s events, which had been scheduled for July 9-12.

It would have been the 65th anniversary of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. That designation will now be planned for 2021, Quillen wrote, based on a unanimous vote by the group’s board of trustees to cancel the 2020 games, a decision he described as “agonizing” and “one that was informed by the best information we could gather from health and government resources.”

Quillen said the board waited as late as it could to make the decision.

“Our decision was driven by several factors, but primarily we could not gain any reasonable guarantee that we would be permitted to gather in a group of more than 50, nor that it would be safe to do so in July of this year, given that we still have limited testing and no vaccines.”

Quillen said although the event has been canceled for this year, Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, Inc., will incur costs in excess of $100,000.

“While painful, this sum will not bankrupt the Games,” Quillen wrote. “Whereas staging the Games and finding ourselves deprived of a crowd would put us in extreme jeopardy.”

Quillen noted he has attended the games for more than 50 years.

“I speak for our entire board of trustees when I say the loss of our Games will hurt each of us, and the financial loss will be the least of it. I will truly miss seeing you, exchanging hugs and the occasional dram, and the wonderful atmosphere that is our Highland Games. And while we can’t make 2020 any better, we can promise that with your help and support our 65th anniversary in 2021 will be a spectacular time. We will manage this circumstance prudently, and we promise to be back better than ever.”

To read Quillen’s entire letter, which also addresses refunds for pre-purchases, visit www.gmhg.org.

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