Highlander Festival returns second week of September | Local

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Tartans and bagpipes will return to Kelso’s Tam O’Shanter Park this September for the 37th year as Kelso hosts a “wee bit of Scotland.” 

The Kelso Highlander Festival will be held Sept. 14-15 this year at Tam O’Shanter Park. Admission to the general festival is free, though some events have entry fees. 

Festivities will kick off at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 14 with a Fun Run/Walk 5k road race. Registration can be done by mail or in person at 7 a.m. The entry fee is $5. Walkers will start at 7:30 a.m. and runner will start at 8 a.m., with prizes handed out following the race.  

Registration for the Kilted Klassic Golf Tournament opens at 8 a.m. at the Three Rivers Gold Course, with tee-off at 10 a.m. The entry fee is $125 per person, with processed benefitting the United Way of Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties. Golfers will be provided with a cart, gold balls, a “goodie bag”, silent auction items and food. 

The Highland dance competition, silent auction and Highland games will start at 9 a.m., followed by the Highlander Festival parade at 10 a.m. 

The Kelso Garden Club’s “Journey through the Highlands” flower show will also open at 10 a.m., featuring design categories like “Scottish Walking Stick” and “Spirit of the Glen”. 

Opening ceremonies and the Parade of Clans will begin at 12:30 p.m. on the field. 

There will be music and entertainment all day Saturday under the covered area of the park, provided by pipe bands from Ft. Vancouver and Clan Gordon, as well as Men of Worth and Darby O’Gill. 

The second day of the festival will start in the park at 8 a.m. with the Kirkin’ of the Tartan Worship Service. There will be a second service at 10 a.m. in the Kelso Methodist Presbyterian Church, followed by an 11 a.m. tea reception in the Fellowship Hall with a bagpiper and Highland dancer performance. 

The Highland games start at 9 a.m on Sept. 15, and the afternoon will have music from the Wicked Tinkers and the Men of Worth. The Kelso Rotary will also hold its Annual Duck Race in the afternoon to raise money for scholarships and charities. 

More information can be found online on the City of Kelso’s website or on the Kelso Highlander Festival and Scottish Games Facebook page. 

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