Family fun, sun highlight Highlanders Festival
Blue skies and sunshine greeted the musicians, athletes and festival goers who gathered at Bisset Park on Oct. 21 to celebrate the 21st Radford Highlanders Festival.
The day started off cool, with guests clutching their coffee but warmed up to an unseasonably warm day for October. Guests sampled the traditional pipe and drum and music, sheepherding, Scottish Highland games with athletes from around the Mid-Atlantic region, and a large variety of vendors and merchants. The Radford Highlanders Festival is a partnership between Radford University and the city of Radford.
Nearly 50 athletes participated in the Tom Raisbeck Memorial Games at the Radford Highlanders Festival games across four sections: women, men’s masters, men’s A and men’s B.
“It’s awesome,” said Libby Weiner, who placed first in the women’s division. “This is my favorite thing to do. I do strongman, powerlifting and Highland, but Highland is definitely my favorite.”
Willie Danzer, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, said that the comradery drives his participation in the Highland games.
“Being able to test yourself – against other guys and yourself – to make sure that all your training is paying off is great,” Danzer said.
First and second place winners:
- Women – First place: Libby Weiner; second place: Morgan Brickey
- Men’s Masters – First place: Kevin Miller; second place: Dan Michaels
- Men’s B – First place: James Davis; second place: Jason Carver
- Men’s A – First place: Jeremy Robinson; second place: Jose McKinney
A traditional start
Elsewhere at Bisset Park, guests heard the traditional sounds of the Highlands with the Virginia Highlands Pipes and Drums band and the Radford University Highlanders Pipes and Drums band signaling the start of the festival with a few tunes, which led into a massed band for the official opening ceremony.
Sarah Garza ’17 and Nichloas Schrecongost ’17 arrived at 9 a.m. to hear the pipes and drums and to watch the Highland Games.
“I really like the caber toss,” Garza said. “And I always like the food and all the events.”
Attendees, such as Garza and Schrecongost, were able to hear a variety of live bands. SYR, a folk-rock band from Columbia, South Carolina, headlined the main stage.
Lead singer and founder of SYR Kyle MacCallum – and his sister, Laurel MacCallum, also in the band – enjoyed the family-friendly and positive atmosphere at the Highlanders Festival.
Kyle MacCallum said that his favorite part of playing at festivals, such as the Radford Highlanders Festival, is that “no matter who you are, where you come from or what your background is, everyone is welcome.”
“It’s family oriented, too,” Laurel MacCallum said. “Even with the cold morning weather, the crowd was really digging it. As a performer, it’s awesome to have that.”
Kyle MacCallum added that “there were more people into our music here than other festivals. They were really enjoying it.”