Welcome to the Festival!

View a gallery of the Highlanders Festival

Now in its 19th year, the Radford Highlanders Festival has grown into one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region.

The festival began in September 1994 with an approximate crowd of 3,000. Over the past 18 years, the festival has more than tripled in size, and now attracts an estimated crowd of 10,000 people. Whether a family’s background is of Scots-Irish origin or of other descent, the day always brings with it an air of excitement and anticipation. There is no place more beautiful than Southwest Virginia in autumn and the Blue Ridge Mountains provide a beautiful back-drop for the fall festival.

We invite you to spend the first weekend in October in the beautiful highlands of Southwest Virginia and visit our historic city that runs alongside the New River, the second oldest river in the world. Take some time throughout your day to tour the university’s campus and meet our Radford family.

You will be among the thousands anticipated to descend upon Radford's Bisset Park for a day-long celebration of the region’s rich heritage. Come early and get a good seat on the risers to enjoy the Scots-Irish heavyweight games. Bisset Park will be alive with clan gatherings, more than 50 diverse crafts, sheep herding demonstrations, children’s activities, and music grounded in the rich heritage of both the Scots-Irish and the Appalachian region.

Don’t miss the excitement!  Make your plans today to attend!

More about Radford University

Radford University is a comprehensive, mid-sized university located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Southwest Virginia. Serving a student population of approximately 9,000, Radford features small class sizes and a strong service orientation on a beautiful 191-acre campus. Progress continues on a $212 million building and renovation program designed to transform its American classic campus with 21st century opportunities. A 2009 renovation of Young Hall has created one of the most technologically advanced academic buildings in the United States. In spring 2010, RU began construction of a $44 million signature building for the College of Business and Economics. Construction of a new $32 million student fitness and wellness center will begin in 2012. The university offers 69 degree programs and one certificate at the undergraduate level and 24 fields of study at the graduate level that have 15 options or specializations and nine post-baccalaureate certificates. RU has recently added doctoral degrees in psychology, physical therapy, and nursing practice, and a master’s in occupational therapy.  Radford University is also recognized for its commitment to sustainability and responsible stewardship of economic, social and environmental resources.   
The RU Foundation also owns Selu Conservancy, a 380-acre tract of land in Montgomery County. The conservancy is available for academic and recreational use and features a retreat center, observatory and overlook at the river. The Farm at Selu, located in the C.E. Richardson Appalachian Heritage Park, is an “authentic replica” of a 1930s working homestead and farm.

See www.radford.edu to learn more about Radford University

More about the City of Radford

The City of Radford is proud to be a part of The Crooked Road music trail and the Civil War historical trail? Extend your festival weekend to Monday night and stop by River City Grille, home of the Monday Night Fiddle and Banjo Jam. At the far end of Bisset Park near downtown, there’s the Civil War marker that tells the story of the area’s most famous battle. Remnants of that battle can be seen near the marker. The concrete columns left standing alone in the New River are the end result of a bridge burning that occurred on that fateful day.

Also a part of the city history is the story of Appalachian heroine Mary Draper Ingles who made her home in the western portion of the city. Mary was captured by the Shawnee Indians in 1755 and escaped captivity after journeying more than 800 miles through treacherous terrain and uncharted territory.  Ingles Farm is open on special dates throughout the year and more information can be found at www.VisitRadford.com.

The Riverway Trail that weaves its way along the river banks, city parks and residential districts provides an intimate and relaxful time with Mother Nature. We encourage you to take some time on your visit to Radford and enjoy this scenic route through Radford.

While you are in Radford, you should be sure to discover the New River.  Tube, canoe and kayak rentals are available in Bisset Park.  And fishing the New is always a great adventure.    Or book a guided birding tour-with over 200+ types of birds and four stops on the VA Birding and Wildlife Trail, Radford is a great place to roost!  Bike rentals on Main Street are also a popular way to discover all the wonderful outdoor recreation that Radford has to offer!

Points of interest in neighboring areas include Claytor Lake, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail.

To learn more about the City of Radford, visit http://www.visitradford.com.