39th Annual Arkansas Scottish Festival April 12-April 15 at Lyon College – Batesville

This Year’s Arkansas Scottish Festival To Be Best Yet!

Lyon College will host the 39th Annual Arkansas Scottish Festival from April 12 to April 15, 2018. The celebration promises something for everyone, including sports fans, animal lovers, readers, eaters, and car buffs. Admission to the Festival is free.

The Festival begins on Thursday with a Celtic concert that will take place at 7 p.m. in Brown Chapel. The winning poem of the Annual Celtic Poetry Contest will be read during the concert. This event is also free and open to the public.

Starting Friday at noon, the Festival will branch out into the community as high school students visit the Lyon College campus to get a sneak peek at the attractions the Festival offers.

That evening will bring entertainment in the Pocket Park between 3rd and 4th Streets on Main Street. At 4:30 p.m. bagpiper Patrick Regan and singer-storyteller Ricky Pitman will perform music, tell stories, and make the crowd laugh. At 4:30 p.m. registration for the Kilted Mile will begin at the Landers building, 276 E. Main.  For $15, participants will not only be entered in the race down Main from 12th to Ringgold, but the first 100 will also gain a complimentary kilt to wear while they run!

The downtown fun will continue at the historic Melba Theater, 115 W. Main, as doors open for a free showing of Braveheart at 6 p.m. The film will begin at 7, and refreshments will be sold at the concession stand in the restored lobby. From 10 to 12 p.m. Patrick Regan will entertain at CIX, a restaurant located at 109 E. Main.

Also on Friday, the President’s Reception will take place at the Highland House, 2030 Bearette St., starting at 6 p.m.  Tickets are $20 and may be obtained by contacting Jennifer Green at 870-307-7071 or jennifer.green@lyon.edu.

Saturday brings the bulk of the fun for the entire family. The Festival will open at 8 a.m. on the Lyon College campus with a book sale in the library that will continue the entire day.  Sheepdog demonstrations and piping and drumming demonstrations will begin at 9 a.m., and so will the amusement bounce houses for kids and entertainment stations for all. The British Car Show will begin at 10 a.m.

Those interested in athletic events will be happy to attend the men’s soccer alumni match at 10 a.m. and the women’s soccer alumni match at 12 p.m. Scottish athletic and Highland dancing demonstrations will begin at 9 a.m. The Scottish athletics competitions will return after an absence of several years to the intramural field at 9 a.m., including a caber toss with telephone poles, heavy weights, and a sheaf toss.

Vendors selling meat pies, bratwurst, and other scrumptious food items will line the parking lot just west of Edwards Commons. Those selling handcrafted jewelry, swords, kilts, costumes will be found near the front of Brown Chapel. Student organizations will also contribute to the event, with clubs, fraternities, and sororities selling food, art, and other wares.

In accordance with the College’s new pet-friendly policies, this year’s festival will see the return of its much-loved dog show. Now hosted by Lyon College’s volleyball team, the competition will have several fun award categories. All dogs are welcome, and interested owners can register for the competition at the Festival on Saturday morning.

Lyon College senior Michayla Shanks is one of the volleyball players organizing the event. She said, “We’re excited to bring back the famous and highly attended dog show! We plan on having competitions such as best outfit, best bark, best tail wag, and more.”

Several competitions will take place on Saturday, including the British car show, a solo piping competition, and a solo drumming competition. The College will announce the winners of these competitions during Saturday’s closing ceremonies at 4 p.m. The College will also announce clan awards and certain scholarships during the ceremonies.

For many, the highlight of the festival is the traditional ceilidh, which will begin at 6 p.m. with a reception in Patterson Dining Hall in Edwards Commons, followed at 7 p.m. by dining, drinking, and dancing. Patrick Regan and the Lyon College Ceilidh Band will perform. Tickets are $50 per person and may also be obtained from Jennifer Green.

The Festival will wind down on Sunday with tea and scones at 8:30 a.m. and an Iona worship service at 9 a.m. Demonstrations and recreational activities will begin at 10 a.m. At 12 p.m., the infamous Bonniest Knees Contest will take place near the Begley Fountain. Participants should don their best kilts! The Festival will close at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

To see the complete schedule for the Festival, visit www.lyon.edu/asf-schedule. Registration for the weekend’s competitions can be found at www.lyon.edu/arkansas-scottish-festival

Ginger Smith joined OGTC in 2014 as a volunteer, and has lived in this area since 1972 when she moved to be near her parents, the late Doss and Vivian Burgess. Her late father was Independence County Appraiser and any time family, whether kids or grand kids, came to visit for even a short time, he would take them to A.D. Hill’s grocery store, and get them a soda pop and candy bar, see the talking bird there, and end up “checking out the great White River.” All the kids and grands have played on the banks there, picnicked, and played on the old train. Ginger is adamant, since she moved to Batesville, there is just no other place to raise a family. Her love for the area and desire to help promote it in her professional capacity led her to seek volunteering, and Charlie Morris, whom she met when she was a typesetter at the Daily Guard Newspaper, put her in touch with Cathy Drew, Executor Director of OGTC. She has been on board since then and says she has loved everything she has done and is proud to represent North Central Arkansas.
The last 20 years of her employment she worked for the late County Judge David Wyatt, West Elementary School Principal Jerry Harris, and Circuit Clerk Claudia Nobles and Judge John Kemp. At the Guard Office she says she made friends for a life time, and then the West Elementary teachers, students, and their families grew close to her forever. Her last job she was hired in a newly created position to collect felony fines and restitution. She was so proud that after three years she more than tripled the annual revenues that she retired! Her part-time retirement job was with the ortho docs, Drs. Allen and Angel where she also met many people from all over the area, and made another set of new friends! She is a published writer and has also written feature articles for the Batesville Guard TV Guide and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
She has a daughter, Misty Long Sparks, son-in-law Dloyd Sparks, and three grands, Dalton Lee, Victoria Lynn and Anna Rose, who own her heart, and three more heartbeat grands, Nico and Corbin of Washington, and a late granddaughter, Ginger Savannah. Her late husband, Ken Smith, was the Batesville Postmaster.
Totally retired now, Ginger offers her time and writing abilities to OGTC as she travels around the state and visits with so many nice folks, writes reviews, and tries to be a worthy representative for Ozark Gateway Tourism. She is a people person who really cares for all God has blessed us with in our beautiful state of Arkansas in the United States of America.