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Lyon presents the 36th annual Arkansas Scottish Festival | Arts & Culture

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Lyon presents the 36th annual Arkansas Scottish Festival

BATESVILLE, Ark. - Lyon College will present the 36th annual Arkansas Scottish Festival April 10 till the 12.

“We invite everyone to come join us. This should be the biggest and best festival we’ve held yet,” said James Bell, director of the Scottish Heritage Program at Lyon.

Festivities will kick off Friday evening with a Celtic concert featuring the Lyon College pipe band and dancers at 7:30 p.m. in Brown Chapel. One of the highlights of this year’s festival will be the Highland Adventure Race on April 11, which features two-person teams competing in a relay race including mountain-trail running, biking, disc golf, orienteering, kayaking and slacklining. Participants can improve their Adventure Race score by competing in Scottish-themed costumes and winning bonus events that mimic traditional Highland games including Highland dancing, sheaf toss, and asparagus toss, a humorous version of the caber toss.

“We wanted to go with events that the whole community could get involved in,” Bell said.

Cash prizes will be awarded for teams in first, second and third place. Check-in starts at 7:30 a.m., and the race begins at 9 a.m. The Highland dancing bonus event will begin at 10:30 a.m. followed by the sheaf and asparagus toss at 11 a.m. The entry fee is $30 per team, and the event is limited to 15 teams. All teams will receive a complimentary photo and t-shirts. Advance entries are preferred. For more information or to enter, contact Darrell Shaw at 870-307-7529 or email darrell.shaw@lyon.edu or Gina Garrett at 870-307-7557 or gina.garrett@lyon.edu.

Other Saturday festival highlights include a Scottish breakfast, an evening feast and Ceilidh in the Patterson Dining Room. There will be Highland-dancing demonstrations, pipe band, solo piping and drumming competitions, sheepdog demonstrations, children’s games and a British car show. Lyon’s Highlanders Junior Choir and the Lyon College Flute Choir also will provide musical entertainment.

Sunday will feature the traditional Iona outdoor worship service at 9 a.m. The Bonniest Knees Contest, a popular tradition at the festival, will begin at noon. The contest consists of blindfolded women feeling the knees of kilted men to determine whose are the “bonniest.”

The Lyon College Mabee-Simpson Library Book Sale will be held in conjunction with the festival. Proceeds benefit the library. There will be hundreds of books on a variety of subjects available. Hardbacks are
 $3 each, 
two for $5, and 
four for $10; paperbacks, children’s books, DVDs, and CDs are 
$2 each, 
three for $5, and 
seven for $10; and magazines or pamphlets are
$0.25 each or five for $1. Library hours during the festival will be 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday. There will also be an art exhibit called “From 1 to 21” on display on the third floor of the library featuring artwork by children and youth of Lyon College faculty and staff members. Contact (870) 307-7206 or email Camille.beary@lyon.edu for more information. 

Admission to the festival, including the Celtic concert, is free. The festival will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 11 and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 12. For more details on events and a festival schedule, visit www.lyon.edu/scotfest.