Lyon College will host the 39th Annual Arkansas Scottish Festival from April 12 to April 15 in Batesville. The celebration promises something for everyone, including sports fans, animal lovers, readers, eaters, and car buffs, according to a press release. Admission to the festival is free.
The festival begins on Thursday, April 12, with a Celtic concert that will take place at 7 p.m. in Brown Chapel. The winning poem of the Annual Celtic Poetry Contest will be read during the concert. This event is also free and open to the public.
Starting Friday at noon, the festival will branch out into the community as high school students visit the Lyon College campus to get a sneak peek at the attractions the festival offers.
That evening will bring entertainment in the Pocket Park between 3rd and 4th Streets on Main Street. At 4:30 p.m., bagpiper Patrick Regan and singer-storyteller Ricky Pitman will perform music and tell stories. At 4:30 p.m., registration for the Kilted Mile will begin at the Landers building, 276 E. Main. For $15, participants will not only be entered in the race down Main from 12th to Ringgold, but the first 100 will also gain a complimentary kilt to wear while they run.
The downtown fun will continue at the historic Melba Theater, 115 W. Main, as doors open for a free showing of Braveheart at 6 p.m. The film will begin at 7 p.m., and refreshments will be sold at the concession stand in the restored lobby. From 10 p.m. to 12 p.m., Patrick Regan will entertain at CIX, a restaurant located at 109 E. Main.
Also on Friday, the President’s Reception will take place at the Highland House, 2030 Bearette St., starting at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 and may be obtained by contacting Jennifer Green at (870) 307-7071 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The festival will open at 8 a.m. Saturday on the Lyon College campus with a book sale in the library that will continue the entire day. Sheepdog demonstrations and piping and drumming demonstrations will begin at 9 a.m., and so will the amusement bounce houses for kids and entertainment stations for all. The British Car Show will begin at 10 a.m.
Those interested in athletic events can attend the men’s soccer alumni match at 10 a.m., and the women’s soccer alumni match at 12 p.m. Scottish athletic and Highland dancing demonstrations will begin at 9 a.m. The Scottish athletics competitions will return after an absence of several years to the intramural field at 9 a.m., including a caber toss with telephone poles, heavyweights, and a sheaf toss.
Vendors selling meat pies, bratwurst, and other scrumptious food items will line the parking lot just west of Edwards Commons. Those selling handcrafted jewelry, swords, kilts, costumes will be found near the front of Brown Chapel. Student organizations will also contribute to the event, with clubs, fraternities, and sororities selling food, art, and other wares.
In accordance with the college’s new pet-friendly policies, this year’s festival will see the return of its much-loved dog show. Now hosted by Lyon College’s volleyball team, the competition will have several fun award categories. All dogs are welcome, and interested owners can register for the competition at the festival on Saturday morning.
“We’re excited to bring back the famous and highly attended dog show,” said Lyon College senior Michayla Shanks, one of the volleyball players organizing the event. “We plan on having competitions such as best outfit, best bark, best tail wag, and more.”
Several competitions will take place on Saturday, including the British car show, a solo piping competition, and a solo drumming competition. The college will announce the winners of these competitions during Saturday’s closing ceremonies at 4 p.m. The college will also announce clan awards and certain scholarships during the ceremonies.
For many, the highlight of the festival is the traditional ceilidh, which will begin at 6 p.m. with a reception in Patterson Dining Hall in Edwards Commons, followed at 7 p.m. by dining and dancing. Patrick Regan and the Lyon College Ceilidh Band will perform. Tickets are $50 per person and may also be obtained from Jennifer Green.
The festival will wind down on Sunday with tea and scones at 8:30 a.m. and an Iona worship service at 9 a.m. Demonstrations and recreational activities will begin at 10 a.m. At 12 p.m., the infamous Bonniest Knees Contest will take place near the Begley Fountain. The festival will close at 2 p.m. on Sunday.