Hold on to your kilts. The 52nd Scottish Highland Games and Gathering of the Clans is in Salado today through Sunday to raise funds for the Central Texas Area Museum.
“We try to make it as Scottish as we can,” said Mary Mendez, manager at the museum. “It promotes the Scottish heritage and brings business to the whole Salado community. Not just the museum.”
Bands travel from all over Texas to compete in piping, drumming and marching events at the games.
Clans set up tents, inviting visitors to learn more about their genealogy, history and culture. Vendors sell everything from Celtic jewelry to decorative Scottish weaponry. Scottish cuisine is available, alongside Texas staples like hot dogs and turkey legs.
Traditional highland dance competitions are judged throughout the games. Sporting events for men and women also will take place, including the infamous tossing of the caber and hammer throw.
This year, the games will kick off with a Friday evening torch-lighting ceremony atop the ruins of Salado’s College Hill, followed by a social in the Central Texas Area Museum’s Hall of the Clans, 423 S. Main St., Salado.
On Saturday, the real fun begins when the grounds open at 9 a.m. at the Civic Center. Visitors can peruse events, vendors and clan tents while enjoying live music. At 10 a.m., athletic events begin.
The Highland Dance competition will run continuously. Numerous bands will participate in the piping and drumming contests, and there will be folk music by Carl Peterson, Don Gabbert, Dene Foye, Hugh Morrison, and Oak and Ember.
Saturday evening will return to College Hill for the Tattoo, a procession of pipers, drummers and clans. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Cost is $6 for adults and $3 for children. College Hill is behind the Stagecoach Inn on South Main Street.
Sunday will give children a chance to participate in athletic events for free.
Day passes to access all events at the Salado Civic Center are $15 for adults on Saturday and $10 on Sunday. A two-day pass is $20. Children’s admission is $6 either day.
An extra event is the Tartan Ball at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Stagecoach Inn Restaurant’s Banquet Hall. Tickets are $40 for individuals and $75 for couples. Go to saladoscottishgames.com or call 254-947-5232.