Southwest Virginia will celebrate its Scots-Irish heritage Saturday at the 17th annual Radford Highlanders Festival. Established in 1996, the festival is a partnership of the city of Radford and Radford University.
Headlining this year’s musical program is the Celtic rock band The Fighting Jamesons. The quintet, based in Virginia Beach, released its first album in 2011 and has been touring along the East Coast since. The group will play two sets on the main festival stage.
Also performing are the Roanoke-based Celtic band Warpipe, 15-year-old bluegrass fiddler Avery Davis of Radford, dancers from the Rince na h'Eireann School of Irish Dance in Charlotte, N.C., the Virginia Highlands Pipes and Drums, and local bluegrass band Branching Out.
Other events will include the Raisback Memorial Scottish Games, featuring major heavyweight contests such as the stones, Scottish hammers, caber toss, sheaf toss, weight for distance and weight for height. Also on the program are a gathering of the clans, a community stage featuring local talent, and dozens of vendors, including food booths. Among crafts for sale will be original art, books, clothing, toys, jewelry and more. Among food offerings will be Scottish specialties, barbecue, popcorn, hot dogs and frozen desserts.
The festival will be from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in downtown Radford and on the Radford University campus. Vendors will open at 10 a.m. Admission is free. Average attendance at the annual event is about 8,000. More information can be found on the Festival website and Facebook page.