Annual Highland Festival takes over Central Park

The 2013 games of the Murray Highland Festival were held Saturday. The event boasted different kinds of Scottish-Celtic heritage celebratory events including events like stone throws, tug-of-war and caber-tossing.

According to Brad Robertson, treasurer of the Highland Society, 550 people attended the event this year, which was a smaller number than in years past. He said the wind and cooler temperatures lessened the number of attendees.

“I enjoy the cold so it didn’t bother me too much,” said Benjamin Tidwell, senior from Murray, Ky. “Some may have been dissuaded from attending the event though because of the weather.”

The festival has a large range of activities which include everything from music to traditional Scottish athletic competitions.

“The Highland athletic competition is what generally draws the biggest crowd,” Robertson said. “There are events like the lumberjack games and stone throws. There are also games that test strength, too. People throw long poles which are actually bigger than the human themselves.”

The $5 entry fee into the event and the money raised were used to provide tents and living quarters for Scottish families who were in attendance.

The Highland Society also donated $500 to the charity chosen by the winners of the tug-of-war competition.

Despite the weather, there were people dressed in traditional Scottish attire.

“There were quite a few men who were participating in the event who were wearing traditional Scottish dress, which did include kilts,” Tidwell said.

Although this was Tidwell’s first experience at the event, he did have a few suggestions on how he thought the event could have been improved as a whole.

“More Scottish-style cuisine I think could have made the event a more immersive experience,” he said. “Maybe make the athletic competitions more accessible or have more of a competitive atmosphere.”

The festival is an annual event which has been held in Murray Central Park since 2006, but before its move, the festival had been held in Paducah since 1996. The event had to be moved to Murray because of its continued growth.


Story by Breanna Sill, Staff Writer