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All things Scottish are celebrated at Alma, Michigan's Highland Festival

Sights at the Alma Scottish Highland Festival
Sights at the Alma Scottish Highland Festival
courtesy Alma Scottish Highland Festival

If the mention of bagpipes, kilts, the Highland Fling and throwing heavy objects like logs (cabers) peaks your interest then you need to plan a journey to the 49th annual Alma Highland Festival being held on the campus of Alma College in Alma, Michigan over Memorial Day weekend on Friday, May 23, Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, May 25.

Alma Highlaand Festival
courtesy Alma Highland Festival

Alma Highland Festival The largest Highland Festival in the Midwest, this family-friendly, educational, cultural event seeks to promote and preserve Scottish ancestry and heritage by highlighting traditional music, dance and athletics of the ancient Highland Games.

Competitions abound at the Alma Highland Festival and visitors will be able to see contestants compete in Highland dance, piping and drumming, choreographed dancing and heavyweight athletic events involving tossing of the caber, stone, sheaf and hammer. There will also be a Lacrosse tournament.

Animal lovers will delight in the Border Collie sheep-herding demonstrations.

Featured entertainers include the Mudmen, the Chelsea House Orchestra and various Alma Jazz bands.

Don't miss the Street Parade featuring massed bands with hundred of pipers and drummers performing together (Saturday at 10:30 a.m.).

Over 50 clans will be present at the Festival's Midwest Gathering of the Clans.

Visitors will get the opportunity to participate in workshops where they will be able to learn how to play the harp and the bodhran (drum).

Other activities at the Festival include an arts & crafts fair, country dancing, children's games and visiting a re-enactment camp.

There will be a multitude of Scottish food items available for purchase including meat pies, haggis (You don't want to know what it is made of), briddies (hot sausage or meat rolls), empire biscuits and shortbread.

Of course, there will be plenty of vendors on hand to sell you all their Scottish wares such as kilts and even bagpipes.

Admission to the Alma Highland Festival is $15 for adults (18 and over) and $10 for seniors (62+) and children (6-17). Children 5 and under are free. A two-day pass is $25 for adults and $15 for seniors and children.

Hours for the Festival are 5:45 p.m. - 11 p.m. on Friday, 8 a.m. - midnight on Saturday and 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Sunday.

There is on-campus housing available for $59 per night. Limit is 2 people per room. On-campus breakfasts are also available at Hamilton Commons (from 6:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.) for $6.85 for adults and $3.75 for children (3-12). Children under 3 eat free.

For more information about the Alma Highland Festival call 989-463-8979 or get online at

Alma College, the home of the Festival, is located at 110 West Superior St. in Alma, Michigan. Alma is 280 miles from Cleveland and it is approximately a 4.5 hour drive.

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