Highland Games And Races

Tour de Crackers Neck

The 26.5 mile Tour de Crackers Neck Bike Race will return with a morning start. Contact Gary Johnson at 276-393-1917 for more information.

Expanded Highland Games!

Registration is now open! Click here for the Highland Games registration form! For 2018, the Highland Games competition will be operated by nationally ranked thrower Adam Sizemore. We're thrilled to have Adam with us this year to elevate the games. Registration for the full athletics competition will open August 1, and will close September 1. Registrations must be received before September 1. The field will consist of 12 Amateur Athletes, 12 Master Athletes, and 4 Elite Women* chosen by order of registrations received. Athletes that are registered but do not make the top 12 will be notified and placed on a waiting list. Athletic competition will begin at 9:00 am Saturday September 22 with the check-in beginning at 8:00 am. Events will include: Open Stone, Heavy Weight for Distance, Light Weight for Distance, Heavy Hammer, Caber, Sheaf, and Weight Over Bar (spinning allowed). Lunch will be provided.

*Elite Women by invitation only.

Our 2018 Program

 September 21, 7:00 PM at Mountain Empire Community College September 22, all day downtown Big Stone Gap VA

Raven and Red, along with Sigean, will headline our  concert beginning at 7:00 pm on Friday September 21, 2018 at the Goodloe Center at Mountain Empire Community College. This concert is free, thanks to the support of the Pro-Art Association.
On Saturday September the 22nd all day in downtown Big Stone Gap there will be a mixture of activities including the parade, 5K run, Bike race, beer garden, music stages, workshops, demonstrations, kids' games, Highland games, sheepdogs, etc.
Music will be at Miner's Park, The Farmers' Market, Coal Museum, John Fox Jr. House, Southwest Virginia Museum, and Tales of the Lonesome Pine Bookstore.  Highland Games and sheepdogs will be at Bullitt Park.  Kids' activities will be at the Library and Bullitt Park. The Celtic Kitchen will again be at BSG Presbyterian Church, which will also be the venue for an 'Open Mic.'  Vendors and demonstrators will be at the Farmers Market, Miners Park, the new Visitors Center and the adjacent sidewalks. Beer Garden will open at noon at Miner's Park. Only 21 and older with an ID will be permitted into the Beer Garden area. ID is required regardless of age. No alcohol can leave the Beer Garden area.

All venues are free except for nominal charges for the Beer Garden, Celtic Kitchen ($5) and High Tea ($5) at the Fox House. MEOC Shuttle Buses are available for transportation between venues.

BIG STONE CELTIC FESTIVAL 2018 (Subject to change)
8:00 AM (at Bullitt Park) Highland Games Registration (for accepted Applications)
8:30 AM (at Bullitt Park) Tour De Cracker's Neck Bike Race Registration (race at 9:00 AM)
11:00 AM (Starts at the Fire Hall, opposite Farmer's Market) PARADE -- All Welcome!
10:00 AM Sigean
1:00 PM Thistledew
11:30 AM Appalachian Highlanders Pipes and Drums
Noon Beer Garden Opens (ID Required)
Noon Ron Short
1:00 PM Raven & Red
3:00 PM Sigean
4:00 PM Thistle Dew
6:00 PM Ceilidh Dance with Sigean and Friends
1:00 PM Cranruach
2-4:00 PM High Tea ($5 per person)
2:00 PM Tim & Eileen
3:00 PM Raven & Red
12:00 PM Jack Beck & Tyler Hughes
2:00 PM Pipes & Drums
3:00 PM Jack Beck & Tyler Hughes
4:00 PM Tim & Eileen
8:00 AM Highland Games Registration (see full schedule here)
9:00 AM Tour de Crackers Neck Bike Race Starts
11:30 AM Children's Celtic Activities, and Hogwarts Express
12:00, 2:00, 4:00 PM Sheepdog Demonstrations
4:00 - 6:00 PM (in the kitchen/hall) Celtic Kitchen ($5 per tasting plate)
Big Stone Celtic is grateful to Pro-Art for the sponsorship of our featured headliners.  Big Stone Celtic is a mainly free event so we are also grateful to the many organizations and individuals who have given generously to make this tribute to the connections between the town and their Celtic forebears possible.



Want to participate in our Festival? Have an idea? Available to volunteer at a venue? Know anyone who does Celtic sports? We'd love to hear from you. This festival is a community-driven effort to increase downtown visibility and showcase the Celtic roots of Southwest Virginia's resilient and lovely people. If you want to help with any element of this you may contact us through our website.

Welcome to Big Stone Celtic!

A celebration of the traditions of the Celtic Nations ~ music, song, stories, food, crafts and dance.



For regular updates, follow us on Facebook at For information on the Tour de Cracker's Neck bike race contact  Gary Johnson at [email protected] CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION ABOUT OUR UPCOMING PROGRAM! The 2016 Festival is getting set to be another memorable one, in large measure due to the many volunteers, sponsors, vendors and venues who step up to the plate and make it fantastic. Special thanks to ProArt and MECC for partnering with us again. Their involvement makes it possible to continue to extend the festival back into Friday evening, with another excellent concert in the Goodloe Center of MECC. This will feature the return of Barbara Dickson, who got a well-deserved standing ovation when she first headlined Big Stone Celtic in 2014. She will be supported by our very loyal and wonderful ‘Sigean’ – our house band for the last 10 years. Big Stone Celtic is modeled on small town festivals that take place throughout the European Celtic nations and takes place in a variety of venues clustered around downtown. Focusing on the games, foods, dances, music and songs of the seven Celtic nations, the festival is unusual for this approach in the United States.  We also promote the strong connection between Celtic and Appalachian culture. European festivals often include races of various kinds (horse races in the old days) and Big Stone Celtic is no exception, with the first Saturday event being a 26-mile bike race - the 'Tour De Cracker's Neck'. We will also have the ‘Doggie Dawdle’, sheepdog demos, the Celtic Kitchen, a full day of music and an expanded highland games as well as the parade and kids’ events. Big Stone Gap lies on HWY 23, just 45 minutes North of Kingsport, Tennessee and an hour West of Abingdon, Virginia, between the Blue Ridge and Cumberland mountains.

We are very grateful to the following sponsors for their generous support

  • Pro-Art
  • Quesenberry'S
  • Wise County
  • Town of Big Stone Gap
  • Freedom Chevrolet
  • South-West Insurance Agency, Inc.
  • Wellmont Health System
  • Moving Forward
  • Tales of the Lonesome Pine
  • Cloverleaf Chiropractic
  • Belltone Hearing Care Center
  • Mike Dizney
  • Old Dominion Power
  • Riggs Oil
  • Big Stone Gap Lawyers
  • Gap Lumber
  • and five anonymous donors

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