Lyon College gears up for 29th Arkansas Scottish Festival April 18-20

The kilts are coming out this weekend at the 29th Arkansas Scottish Festival at Lyon College.

Bagpipers, dancers, drummers, sheepdogs and Highland athletes will be seen all over the campus April 18-20 for demonstrations and competitions to celebrate the collegeís Scottish heritage. More than 10,000 people are expected to attend the unique event.

The festival kicks off Friday with the United States Piping Foundation Professional Piobaireachd Qualifier. The event will be at 1 p.m. at Pocket Park on Main Street in downtown Batesville.

Other Friday events include a golf tournament at The Course at Eagle Mountain, patron reception and United States Piping Foundation Professional March, Strathspey and Reel Qualifier.

Fridayís events end with The Big Show, a student talent show with some of Lyonís most talented students. It begins at 8 p.m. in Brown Chapel.

Gates open at 8 a.m. on Saturday, the festivalís main activity day, but the official opening ceremony begins at 1 p.m. Saturday in Couch Garden. The ceremonies will feature a parade of massed bands and clans as well as a presentation to the U.S. Border Patrol Pipe Band.

Food vendors will be on hand to offer Scottish dishes and American favorites during the festival.

The Mabee-Simpson Library also will host a book sale during the festival.

The Corporate Olympics begin at 2 p.m. Saturday between the library and Edwards Commons. The games feature local businesses competing in a variety of events for a trophy and bragging rights.

And once again the popular Highland games are back. The games begin at 9 a.m. Saturday with the heavy athletic competition slated for 10 a.m.

The Arkansas Scottish Festival is also kid friendly. Childrenís games will be Saturday and Sunday east of the Alphin Building and the ìChildís Passportî program will be located at the welcome tent. Children can stop by the tent and receive a passport they can take to the visiting clans to get stamped. Children who bring their stamped passport back to the tent will receive a prize pack. There also will be balloon animals, candy and food for the festivalís younger visitors.

On Sunday, events begin with the Iona Worship Service in Couch Garden at 9 a.m. followed by sheepdog demonstrations, childrenís games, pipe band demonstrations and a dance workshop. Gates close at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets for Saturday are $14 for adults and $10 for students. On Sunday, tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students. Both days children 12 and under get in free.