Bagpipes will echo, kilts will sway, and dancers will leap at the pageant of Scottish culture, heritage, and tradition known at the Scottish Clan Gathering and Highland Games, Nov. 8-10 in Salado.
Guests can revel in Celtic cuisine, caber tossing, world-class dancing and as many as 100 bagpipers parading at the 52nd Annual Gathering at the Salado Civic Center at 601 N. Main Street.
Texas oldest Scottish gathering kicks off with a torch-lit ceremony atop the ruins of Salado’s College Hill at 6p.m. Nov. 9, followed by a 7 p.m. Welcome Social in the Central Texas Area Museum’s Hall of the Clans, at 423 S. Main Street.
Events begin at 9 a.m. Nov. 10. Guests who pay the entry fee at the Civic Center grounds can delve into Scottish ancestry and heritage with clan society representatives, tap their toes to lively folk performances, or wind amongst the many vendors and artisans selling Scottish goods.
While the grounds open at 9 a.m., a formal Festival Opening Parade begins at noon, featuring the massed pipe bands and clan society representatives carrying tartan banners.
They can also watch the athletic competition on Nov. 10 with men ages 18 to 39 competing in the Open category, men over 40 making up the Masters class, and all adult women in their own category completing the same events. Athletic events include putting the stone, tossing the Scottish hammer, tossing weights for distance, as well as for height, and tossing of the caber. Athletic competition begins at 10 a.m. and runs continuously through the day.
More events on the grounds include the Highland Dance competition. The highly athletic dance contests will feature continuous performances of the Highland Fling, Scottish Hornpipe, Sword Dance, Sean Triubhas and the Lilt. Many past Salado competitors have been world champions.
Sending reverberations across the grounds such as those that bounce off wild mountains and dark glens in the Old Country will be the bagpipe and drum competition, for individual pipers and drummers as well as for bands.
Even more competitions include the shortbread contest and the bonniest knees contests to be held mid-day on Nov. 10.
Featured folks singers at the festival will include Carl Peterson, Don Gabbert, Dene Foye, Hugh Morrison and Central Texas’ own Oak and Ember.
In addition, a worship service to include a “Kirking of the Tartan” ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. Nov. 11 in the Salado Civic Center Building. Jim Haney will preach at the service. The service will include a blessing of family tartans and a “Flowers of the Field” ceremony, honoring friends of the museum who have died in the last year.
Attendees can watch the children attempt athletic feats inspired by the adult Heavy Athletics performers. All children are invited to compete free of charge on Nov. 11.
Day passes to access all events on the Civic Center are $15 for adults on Nov. 9 and $10 on Nov. 10. A two-day pass can be purchased for $20. Children’s admission is $6 either day. Admission on Nov. 9 include the 5:30 p.m. Tattoo atop the ruins of Salado College Tattoo guests enjoy a twilight performance of bagpipes bands, along with performances by some of the top festival talent, including folk singers and dance contest winners. Cost for those attending the Tattoo only is $6 for adults and $3 for children. College Hill is located on South Main Street behind the Stagecoach Inn.
Another special event of the weekend will be the Tartan Ball at 8 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Stagecoach Inn Restaurant’s Banquet Hall. Advamce tickets are $40 for individuals and $75 for couples.
For more information visit www.saladoscottishgames.com or call the Central Texas Area Museum at 254-947-5232.