Jun 27, 2012

Scottish Festival

By: Amberly Asay
As dusk approaches, the sound of bagpipes drift through the night air.  The crowds chitter chatter can be heard beneath the melodies played at the ceilidh.  The anticipation can be felt through the atmosphere for the competitions, parades and food tomorrow will bring.  Welcome to the 29th annual Payson Scottish Festival.

The Payson Scottish Festival began in 1983 and is in fact the only free Scottish festival in the Western United States. The event begins Friday, July 13 with a Ceilidh, the Gaelic word for a party or festival, and then end the next day with athletic competitions, dance competitions, food and lots of bagpipe music.   

Mark Ethridge, the committee chair of public relations and sponsors, said the festival is part of the summer activities and great for families.

“The festival started out as a fundraiser for the Payson High School pipe band and has grown into what it is today,” Ethridge said. “Every year we have countless local volunteers that help make the festival continue.”

The next morning, July 14, the festivities kick off with a 5k race, a parade and opening ceremonies.  From 8am-5pm the competitions begin throughout the park.  

The Highland Athletic Events originate back to the Scottish Games in the 11th century.  The competitions were a way for men to prove their worth and show their speed, strength and agility.  The competitions include: Stone Puts, Weight for Distance, Hammer, Caber Toss, Weight for Height and the Sheaf Toss. 

The highland activities will also include the Scottish dances.  The dances were originally wartime dances used to show physical prowess, stamina and agility.  The dancers are judged on three things: their timing, technique and overall appearance. 

Cheryl Brown and her husband Larry, belong to the festival board as the food vendor chairmen.  They have been attending the festival for the past 10 years.

“The crowds love the Scottish games and the bands the most,” Brown said. “It is a free event and the Payson Park is full of thousands of people.” 

The Scottish festival features bagpipes and drum competitions with many bands coming from out of state.  The festival has several vendors and clans that you can become a part of.  Come look at the Scottish merchandise as well as the wonderful food.   

 “In our food booth we serve the ethnic food such as Scotch eggs, Haggis (made at BYU catering), corned beef and cabbage, trifle, and shortbread,” Brown said. “We also have fish and chips, pork sandwiches, twisted taters, hamburgers, hot dogs, root beer, etc…”

The Payson Scottish Festival has a little bit of fun for everyone.  With parades, music food, children events and much more, you are sure to have a jolly good old day. For a more through list of the events, go to www.paysonscottishfestival.org.

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