Welcome to the Festival!

View a gallery of the Highlanders Festival
Photo Gallery: 2017 Highlander Festival

The Radford Highlanders Festival has grown into one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region.

The festival began in the mid-1990s with an approximate crowd of 3,000. Over the past 20 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. The Radford University campus will be alive with clan gatherings, diverse crafts, sheepherding 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 public university of more than 9,400 students that has received national recognition for many of its undergraduate and graduate academic programs, as well as its sustainability initiatives. Radford University serves the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation through a wide range of academic, cultural, human service, and research programs. Well known for its strong faculty/student bonds, innovative use of technology in the learning environment and vibrant student life on a beautiful 204-acre American classical campus, Radford University offers students many opportunities to get involved and succeed in and out of the classroom. The university offers 67 degree programs in 38 disciplines and four certificates at the undergraduate level; 22 master's programs in 17 disciplines and three doctoral programs at the graduate level; 11 post-baccalaureate certificates and one post-master's certificate. A Division I member of the NCAA and Big South Athletic Conference, Radford University competes in 16 men’s and women’s varsity athletics. With over 270 clubs and organizations, Radford University offers many opportunities for student engagement, leadership development and community service.

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 Grill, 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.