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This year the Payson Scottish Festival celebrates its 30th annual Festival. The Association actually organized 31 years ago in preparation for their first Festival which took place in 1984 in conjunction with the Payson Onion Days. Admission has always been free.
The vendors arrive during the day Friday and prepare to be open for business at the start of the Festival Friday evening when the festivities begin. The first event is the Friday night Ceilidh (kay-lee), July 11 from 6:30-9:30 pm, at the Bandstand in the Payson City Park. Performers and dancers share their talents and regale the crowd with Scottish music, song, stories and dance.
Saturday, July 12 at 9 am, events begin with a parade up Main Street. Opening Ceremonies, often called Massed Bands, take place on Main Street on the west side of the park as the parade completes its march. This year, during the opening ceremonies the Payson Scottish Festival Chieftain’s staff will pass from our previous chieftain, Mike Findlay, to Bob Gallimore who will serve as the Chieftain for the next two years.
All day Saturday there are many events to enjoy. One can peruse the vendor’s booths where all things Scottish and Celtic can be found. The folks tending the clan booths are happy to share their knowledge about their clan and its history. There are additional bandstand performances to enjoy. From morning to evening the sound of the pipes wafts through the park as the pipers and bands practice and compete. Occasionally you will hear a mighty roar from the athletic field as an athlete makes an impressive toss or throw. In the big top tent, the tartan is flying as bonnie lassies and laddies compete in the Highland Dance competition. Hunger and thirst can be satisfied at the various food booths most of whom sell familiar food and drink. If you care to try something new and different, there are a few food vendors who sell Scottish delicacies such as Scottish Eggs, Haggis and Fish & Chips.
The day ends at 5pm with closing ceremonies on the athletic field. The bands play as they march onto the field then stand at attention as the winners of the various competitions are announced and applauded. A lone piper plays Amazing Grace as the Flowers of the Forest list of names is read. (Flowers of the Forest are folks who have recently passed on.) The bands play as they march off the field leaving you filled with memories and a hunger for the next year’s Festival.
A band practices at the 2013 Payson Scottish Festival as many people enjoy the sounds and activities nearby.