Radford Highlanders Festival set for Oct. 21

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The Highlander Festival will return to Radford for the 21st time Oct. 21 at Bisset Park. Sam Parlow competes in last year’s hammer throw event with (from left) Mike Kang and Jonathan Harding watching.

The 21st Radford Highlanders Festival is Saturday, Oct.21 at Bisset Park in Radford.


Follow the skirl of bagpipes and join the thousands of people to experience excitement, fun, games and food. Live music is also featured at the festival, including the headliner band SYR, a Celtic folk-rock band from Columbia, South Carolina. SYR creates original Celtic music based on battle, love, loss and heritage. Heavyweight games, sheepherding, Scottish clans, entertainers, children’s games and pipe and drum bands round out the entertainment at the Highlanders Festival.

In the serious – yet quirky – Braveheart 5K, wearing kilts is both welcomed and encouraged. Runners will enjoy gorgeous waterfront views of the New River on the footpaths of Bisset Park. A free one-mile fun run will challenge the youngsters to become mini-Highlanders and immediately follows the 5K.

Bisset Park will undergo a transformational process for the day as artists, vendors, craftspeople and community organizations turn the park into an open-air forum. Start holiday shopping early or treat yourself to something nice from one of the many vendors with a diverse and interesting set of clothing, accessories, jewelry and crafts.

The Radford Highlanders Festival is a daylong feast, with assorted foods offered by vendors. Enjoy authentic Scottish fare, classic festival food or American classics, such as pizza and burgers, at the festival. Savor the delicious food all while marveling at the power of the Scottish athletes participating in the heavyweight games.

Chad Clark, a veteran competitor in strongman and powerlifting competitions, appears at the helm of the Tom Raisbeck Memorial Games for the second consecutive year. The three 12-athlete divisions – A, Masters and Women – has each division competing to decide a champion, or athlete, of the day.

The Raisbeck Games at the Radford Highlanders Festival features events and competitions traditionally associated with rural and military life in the Scottish Highlands, including: weights for distance and height; the stones, similar to modern-day shotput; Scottish hammers; the sheaf toss; and the crowd-pleasing caber toss.

Make a stop in the beautiful foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains on October 21 to enjoy diverse vendors and culture. Just 10 minutes from Exit 109 off Interstate 81, the Radford Highlanders Festival has something for everyone, all while celebrating the region’s Scots-Irish ancestry.

The Radford Highlanders Festival is a partnership between Radford University and the City of Radford. To learn more, go to www.radford.edu/festival or search “Radford Highlanders Festival” on Facebook. Registration for the Braveheart 5K can be found on www.ItsYourRace.com.