Lyon College ScotsFest Kilted Fun Run to Round Out Huge Festival Weekend

Lyon College is gearing up for ScotsFest, the ultimate fusion of the Arkansas Scottish Festival and the Lyon College Homecoming, from Friday, Oct. 27, to Sunday, Oct. 29, on the Lyon College campus at 2300 Highland Rd. in Batesville.

The much-anticipated Kilted Fun Run, where participants don kilts and take a leisurely stroll or run through Batesville, is set for Sunday, Oct. 29, following the bonniest knees contest at 1 p.m. in the entertainment tent. Event sponsor is White River Health.

Registration for the fun run is $25 and $10 for students and children. Participants can register at or by contacting Pam Palermo at

The Arkansas Scottish Festival, which originated in 1979 as a humble fair on Lyon College’s intramural field, has evolved into one of Arkansas’ premier festivals. It’s a heartfelt tribute to the Scottish heritage of the college’s Presbyterian founders, and this year marks its 43rd anniversary. To add to the excitement, it’s the third consecutive year that the festival will be combined with the Lyon College Homecoming celebration.

Last year, this unique event attracted over 5,500 festival-goers and had a substantial economic impact, injecting an estimated $1.2 million into Independence County’s economy. The festival’s rich history and community significance are undeniable.

Presented by Lyon College and lead partner Experience Independence, ScotsFest 2023 promises new and thrilling additions. These include a vintage swap meet, a comedy show featuring “America’s Got Talent” alumnus Cam Bertrand, a free rocket-building workshop, and captivating performances by the Piper Jones Band and Celtic musician Misty Posey.

The festivities kick off at noon on Friday with a delectable food truck fair, a wide array of vendors, and exhibitions highlighting the heritage of Scottish clans. The Ozark Beer Co. entertainment tent will come alive with talented performers throughout the day. Notable acts include third-generation Arkansas musician Garrett Duncan and his wife, Ashton, at 4 p.m., central Arkansas country rock band Drasco at 6 p.m., and the award-winning Arkansas bluegrass ensemble, The Gravel Yard, at 8 p.m.

On Saturday, the festival gets underway at 8 a.m. with historical reenactments, a Highland heavy athletics competition, Scottish clan reunions, sheep dog demonstrations, rocket demonstrations, pipe band exhibitions, Highland dancing, a British car show, the Li’l Highlanders Fun Zone, a dog show and entertainment throughout the day featuring Celtic songstress Posey. There will be a vintage swap meet from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., showcasing the best in vintage toys, sports memorabilia, fashion, crafts, collectibles, jewelry, artwork, and culture.

The Ozark Beer Co. entertainment tent keeps the party going from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with performances by the Piper Jones Band, known for their energetic renditions of traditional tunes from Scotland, Ireland and Appalachia. A traditional Scottish ceilidh rounds out the day’s events.

On Sunday, the festival opens at 8 a.m. with historical reenactments, sheep dog demonstrations, Highland dancing, and a Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan worship service at 11 a.m. in the entertainment tent. At 1 p.m., it’s time for the bonniest knees contest, followed by the Kilted Fun Run for adults, students and children. 

The festival wraps up at 4 p.m. on Sunday, bringing an end to an unforgettable weekend.

General admission to the festival is free, though some individual and alumni events require separate registration.

For the complete schedule, visit