Tag Archives: Highlander Festival

Highlander Festival: Once a year, and a ton of fun to boot!

The Highlander Festival is an annual event that many Radford University students look forward to attending.

Upper left: fried oreos, upper right: medallion, bottom: Moffett Quad. Photos by Annemarie Jones.

Various merchants from surrounding areas come to the festival in order to sell their products. Many of the products derive from Scottish, Irish, and Celtic culture. There was a traveling cart that sold various paraphernalia for Wiccans that had been all over the country, as well as a baked-goods cart that has a headquarters in Tennessee. Gerry Timlin, a talented folk singer with a lot of training, started coming to RU’s Highlander Festival 18 years ago and has been a main performer ever since.

Continue reading Highlander Festival: Once a year, and a ton of fun to boot!

Strength in a kilt

Every October, Radford University and the City of Radford hold an event called Highlanders Festival where visitors can participate in time-honored Scottish and Highlander traditions.

Photo by Brian Hollingsworth.

One event that attracts many onlookers is the Highlander Games, a series of traditional Scottish games where participants can try their hand at many tasks.

Photo by Austin Tuley.

The games include the stones, Scottish hammers, caber toss, sheaf toss, sheep-herding, tug of war, weight for distance and weight for height.

Photo by Austin Tuley.

The stones is a game where athletes toss a rock or stone that weighs between 16 and 30 pounds into a box across the field from them. This game is considered the predecessor to the modern shot put.

Photo by Austin Tuley.

The sheaf toss is a game that originated at farm festivals in Scotland. Each athlete has three chances to throw a 16- or 20-pound bag over a high bar using a two- or three-pronged pitch fork. This event is considered a heavyweight game.

Photo by Austin Tuley.

The caber toss is a game where the athlete picks up a “caber” or tree trunk and holds it vertically while attempting to hoist the trunk into the air in such a way that it flips in the air and lands vertically upon hitting the ground. The caber is 18 to 21 feet long and can weigh anywhere from 90 to 150 pounds. Points are awarded for each attempt based on distance and how close the athlete got to having the caber sit straight.

Photo by Austin Tuley.

Sheep-herding is also an attraction that gathers a large crowd. Trainers and their dogs compete to herd sheep into different areas. The points are based on time, efficiency and training.

Photo by Austin Tuley.

The Scottish hammer is the predecessor of the modern day hammer throw. Each athlete stands behind a large wooden beam and heaves his hammer, weighing either 16 or 20 pounds, as far as he can. Points are awarded on distance, and the athlete cannot pass the wooden beam.

Photo by Austin Tuley.


Photo by Austin Tuley.

In weight for distance, an athlete tosses a 28- or 56-pound weight as far as he can across a field. Points are awarded for distance and he must not cross a beam placed in front of him. In weight for height, an athlete tosses a 56-, 42- or 28-pound weight over a high bar. Points are awarded on height, and the weight is determined by the competitor’s age and gender.

Photo by Austin Tuley.

Tug of war is a favorite of RU students. Each team consists of six to eight people.

Photo by Austin Tuley.

The Highlander Games are a tradition that attracts many participants and onlookers every year. They are a reminder of Radford’s Scottish heritage.

Fun entertainment for family weekend

On Friday, Oct. 1, families will descend upon Radford University. It’s been about a month since the start of school, and parents are anxious to see what their hard-earned money has been up to while their darlings have been away. Instead of taking your parents to that party spot you like to frequent, check out one of the entertaining shows happening around campus.

Each year for family weekend, the School of Dance and Theatre puts on a dance show and a theatre production. “Fall Dance Fest” is on Thursday at 8 p.m. and has showings throughout the weekend, including Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. The show will contain four dances. The ballet piece is a selection from “The Nutcracker,” which will be performed in its entirety in December, presented by Inessa Plekhanova. Deborah McLaughlin and Danah Bella will each have a modern piece in the show. The evening will also contain a jazz piece choreographed by newcomer Bob Boross.

Junior Caitie Potosnak can be seen in two pieces: the ballet piece and Danah’s piece. She likes the differences between the two because the ballet piece is “pretty” and the modern piece is “very hard with a lot of movement.” It will be presented in the Bondurant Auditorium of Preston Hall.

“People should come see [“Fall Dance Fest”] because there is a lot of talent in the dance department, and a lot of people don’t experience dance so they should come see how hard we work,” Potosnak said.

The theatre department will present “Hay Fever” this year, a comedy by playwright Noel Coward. This comedy surrounds the Bliss family, whose realities are sometimes mixed with more fiction than necessary. They entertain house guests one weekend and the guests don’t know what to suspect of the larger-than-life personalities of the Blisses. They eventually are driven from the house due to extreme comfort brought on by the hosts. Performances are on Saturday, Oct. 2 at 2 and 8 p.m., Oct. 3 at 2 p.m., Oct. 6 at 10 a.m. and Oct. 7, 8 and 9 at 8 p.m.

Amidst the School of Dance and Theatre productions, let’s not forget the Highlander Festival events. The annual Highlander Festival parade will begin at 11 a.m., followed by traditional Scottish games executed on Moffett Quad throughout the day. At noon on Saturday, dogs will display their talents in front of the Bonnie. This event is sponsored by the Department of Student Activities.

The sky will light up in Reed/Curie Hall for the Planetarium exhibit at 1 p.m. The planetarium was built in 1970 and is equipped with reclining seats to make the stargazing more enjoyable.

The hard workers in the Interior Design and Fashion department will display their talents with a Fall Fashion Show at 4 p.m. on Saturday in the Bonnie Hurlburt Auditorium.

Preston Hall will have the magic in it when Craig Karges presents his magic show at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Karges combines magic with psychology to perform tricks that you won’t believe. Referred to as “the extraordinist,” Karges is an award-winning magician.

The Bonnie will play “How to Train your Dragon” in addition to all the family weekend festivities. RU’s productions allow students to see a part of the school they might not have realized even existed around campus. Not only can you experience magic and dog shows from non-students, you can enjoy the talent of your fellow peers and maybe learn something. All of these events are free with the exception of “How to Train your Dragon,” which is a dollar with a student ID. Some events do require tickets, which are free with a student’s ID and can be picked up in the Bonnie for the “Fall Dance Fest” and in Porterfield Hall for “Hay Fever.”

Five things to do at Radford

Every year Radford University welcomes a new class of students who seek a higher education. However, students also expect college to be entertaining. While Radford’s campus is conducive to studying, there are things to do for fun on and around campus that don’t include party hopping.

Curie Hall, attached to the back of Reed Hall, contains a planetarium in its bottom floor. The planetarium operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. Shows are free to students and visitors, but donations are accepted through the planetarium’s information page.

Instead of the planetarium, Selu Observatory boasts a view of the real night sky through a 14.5″ RCOS telescope, as well as other powerful instruments. Selu is also free to anyone who wants to attend a two hour session occurring every clear Friday, about half an hour after sundown. The observatory is located not far from exit 109 of I-81. Although it is not walking distance from campus, it is a relatively close attraction for those who have transportation, and is often used as a location for department-related celebrations.

Every day students go to Dalton Hall to eat with friends for three meals of the day. However, one day out of the year students and teachers flock by the dozens to attend “Taste for Diversity,” a culture-filled night of exotic foods and performances. This usually includes live music and belly dancing. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion, among other organizations, puts this event together every year in hopes that it will help educate the student population about other cultures. For that day, Dalton Hall serves food that they generally wouldn’t serve, allowing customers to break out of their usual eating habits. Senior King Amponsem, one of the key players in last year’s Diversity Week was thrilled with the outcome.

“I feel blessed and humbled seeing all those students come out there and seeing it put a smile on student’s faces. I was really excited about that,” Amponsem said.

Another yearly event for students is the Annual Highlanders Festival. This is open to everyone in the area, including parents, which conveniently falls on family weekend. During this festival there is a parade consisting of many bagpipe groups, the Radford University cheerleaders, RU Rockers (Radford’s dance team), fire department and many more. There are also several food and craft vendors selling a wide variety of Scottish and Irish memorabilia such as baked goods and jewelry.

The main attraction during the Highlanders Festival is the Scottish Games. A large rectangle of area is sectioned off in Moffett Quad, which is packed with vendors. In this rectangle athletes compete in what is known as the Scottish Games. These games consist of the weight for distance, the stone, the hammer, the sheaf and the caber. All of these games test the athlete’s strength and power, which always draws a large crowd from the visitors.

Most of these activities so far have been on or around campus. For students looking to get away for an afternoon, the Cascades can be a relaxing getaway. Located in nearby Giles County, The Cascades National Scenic Trail has an upper and a lower path that are both about a four mile round trip.

Junior Jennifer Adsit, a frequent visitor of the Cascades, has fond memories of the trail.

“It’s beautiful. That’s where my husband proposed to me,” Adsit said. “I also like it because it’s a medium difficulty for a hike. It’s just fun.”

These are only a handful of things to do around RU. As the year wears on more events will happen, and Radford will be alive with entertainment.

Radford’s own little piece of Scotland!

The sky was cloudless, the music loud, and the was crowd abuzz during with the energy of the 14th annual Highlander festival and the 24th annual Folk Arts festival. Moffett quad and Heth lawn were both set up for business and fun this past Saturday. Booths lined the edges of both areas, awaiting a potentially large number of customers.

In Heth lawn there were booths for the folk arts including metalwork, needlework, wicker baskets, caning, quilting, woodwork, corn husk dolls and the art of Willard Gayheart. A couple of booths sold homemade confections such as honey and apple butter. On the stage of Heth lawn was a band playing folk music for the crowd.

Across the way, next to Fairfax Hall, there was an exhibit of birds put on by their keepers. A large group of people gathered around an owl, a red tailed hawk and other such birds in order to take pictures and learn more about them.

Another demonstration was of goat herding. The trainer of two herding dogs displayed how to use the two dogs to determine where the four goats walked, and how they keep the goats traveling in a pack rather than wandering off.

On Tyler Street there was a parade consisting of marching bagpipers, the Radford University cheerleaders, the dance team, the highlander mascot and fire trucks to name a hand full. People flocked to the sides of the street and the medians upon hearing the first band of bagpipers approach.

On Moffett quad, people with dogs and children were milling about. Many spectators waited around the sectioned-off portion of the field to see the procession of the bagpipe bands and the march of the clans. Three bands of bagpipers were in attendance this year. Virginia