CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — From the heather-laden highlands of Scotland to the sun-kissed red cliffs of St. George, Celtic heritage will be on full display this weekend. Grab your kilt and head to Sandtown Park for the return of the “RedStone Highland Games & Festival.”
This exciting heritage festival is free to the public and packed with Scottish-inspired fun for the whole clan. Events will be spread across Friday afternoon and most of Saturday. Among the highlights are highland athletics, a vendor marketplace, the gathering of Scottish clans and a jam-packed roster of entertainment including live bagpipes. There’s also Celtic cuisine along with giant inflatables for the wee lassies and laddies.
But you don’t need to be Scottish to enjoy RedStone, event founder Kathy Rawlings said. The festival is a time to gather as a community and celebrate the roots and branches from wherever you may hail.
“RedStone is all about honoring our past and future as we gather to keep our family foundations strong, regardless of one’s national heritage,” Rawlings said. “We’re honored to bring this fun, exciting festival to Southern Utah again.”
Rawlings and her husband, Dave, organized the first RedStone event in 2018. It was originally planned to serve as an opening for the Utah Heavy Athletics highland games season. However, they quickly realized the potential to engage the community with something special.
“We don’t make a dime, but the rewards are endless,” she said. “We are so gratified and astounded at the warm reception and good people who now are the heart and soul of the RedStone clan.”
As if destined by the will of the ancestors, Rawlings reserved Sandtown Park as the festival’s venue. She later learned from a local historian that the Sandtown area of St. George was once settled by early Scottish pioneers.
Always a showstopping attraction, the brawny athletes from Utah Heavy Athletics will take center field to hurl hammers, stones and caber poles during the Highland Games Competition on Saturday. And don’t miss the Strongman Competition from 4-7:30 p.m. on Friday.
Highland games began centuries ago as athletic competitions between clans vying to be the strongest and best. Last year, the RedStone Highland Games Competition crushed the state record for the most athletes participating in a Utah Heavy Athletics event. Rawlings said the crowds soaked up every drop of determination and sweat.
The honorable Michael McFarland of Clan MacFarlane will preside as Chieftain of the Games and herald the traditional Gathering of the Clans event. Rawlings said many individual clans gather at the event each year with their own booths, historical heirlooms, clan maps, tartans, stories, legends and valuable family history information. Families can discover their own clan connections and are warmly welcomed into their circles.
Joining the renowned Salt Lake Scots bagpipe troupe for their Friday evening concert will be Utah’s own crowd-pleasing Joshua Creek. Both bands are scheduled to perform throughout the day on Saturday.
The entertainment lineup also features local favorites Bret Sevy and the Wooden Tantrum Celtic band and Bob the Magician & the RedStone Storytellers, professional purveyors of Scottish lore. The crowd will also be treated to a grand appearance by Her Majesty Mary, Queen of Scots and her royal attendants.
And if you’re searching for unique gifts to share this holiday season, look no further. Plan on a shopping trip to remember at the vendor booths in the Celtic Marketplace. These retailers from across the country gather at RedStone each year to offer traditional Scottish wares including kilts, sporrans and jewelry. There will also be fine craftsmen from the St. George area to add local flavor to the shopping experience.
Speaking of flavor, you’ll also be able to enjoy authentic Scottish cuisine from Oscar’s Meat Pies and the Welsh Bakery. There’s also barbecue, food trucks and plenty of sweet treats including homemade cinnamon rolls from the Lark’s Nest.
RedStone is partnering with Switchpoint Community Resource Center, a nonprofit organization helping individuals experiencing homelessness in the St. George area. Switchpoint provides tools to get life back on track for those who need it most. Festival visitors are invited to stop by their booth to discover how they can engage with and assist in their efforts.
Join the fun and be whisked away to the hills of Scotland. Cheer your favorite highland athlete, meander through Celtic wares, grab a bite to eat and be delighted by the ancient music and dance of the highlands.
Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.
• S P O N S O R E D C O N T E N T •
- What: RedStone Highland Games & Festival.
- When: Friday, Oct. 15, from 4-9 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Where: Sandtown Park, 600 N. Bluff St., St. George.
- Tickets: Free.
- Resources: Website.
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