Scotfest showcases kilts, bagpipes, feats of strength
BROKEN ARROW — Vibrant kilts, bagpipe tunes and Scottish feats of strength were on display this weekend at Scotfest 2018.
About 25,000 people were expected to attend the three-day festival that began Friday at Broken Arrow Events Park and ends Sunday. The festival included 20 bands, 150 athletes competing in traditional Scottish sports and about 100 dancers.
Many of ties
Myers, 56, has closely traced the heritage of his family, who traveled from Scotland to Ireland in 1605 and then from Ireland to the United States in 1856, a time when many Protestants were migrating.
Myers, of Broken Arrow, who was decked out in a bright green T-shirt that said “Ireland,” a dark green plaid kilt and dark green tights, said he has attended Scotfest for nearly 30 years.
“I just come to listen music,” he said.
That music — mainly the bleating of bagpipes — could be heard throughout the festival. Dallas-based Metroplex United Pipe Band traveled up for the event, playing “Scotland the Brave” and “Auld Lang Syne,” among other traditional Scottish melodies.
Matt Willis, pipe major for Metroplex, said the group, which was formed in 2013, travels to states surrounding Texas to promote Scottish heritage and culture.
“It's important to preserve culture, and that's really the driving force behind why we do this,” Willis said.
Other bagpipe groups, including Tulsa Police Pipes & Drums, were also there.
Scotfest held a competition for Highland dancing, in which participants dance on the balls of their feet, kick their legs out and perform other technical legwork. The style was developed in the Scottish Highlands in the 1800s.
Emma Karren, 14, traveled from Issaquah, Washington, to show off her moves. She said she has been learning Highland dancing since she was 5 and practices an hour a day in addition to two lessons a week.
Emma said she enjoys Highland dancing's unique style as compared to most modern dance styles. “I like how different it is,” she said.
While some festivalgoers were there simply to enjoy the beer, food and music, about 150 muscled athletes came to compete in various Scottish sports. As the sun beat down Saturday afternoon, a group of women competed in the sheaf toss, in which participants use a pitchfork to hurl a stuffed burlap bag over a horizontal bar.
Other games included Scottish hammer throw weight over the bar.
Many Scottish clan associations set up tents at the event to promote Scottish heritage and teach people about their possible family ties to Scotland. Lee Shackelford was there to represent Clan Scott, which provides scholarships for young people in Scottish dancing, sports and other activities.
Shackelford, commissioner of the clan in Oklahoma, said his grandmother's last name was Scott. The family has strong Scottish ties, though they aren't sure whether they're related to Richard Scott, 10th Duke of Buccleuch and the current largest landowner in Scotland.
Either way, Shackelford he knows his Scottish roots run deep.
“I'm ornery and pigheaded,” he joked. “That fits right into the Scots.”
Sgt. Clay Asbill (right) and other members of the Tulsa Police Pipes and Drums group perform during Scotfest at the Broken Arrow Events Park on Saturday.
Cheryl Wolfinger, an Oktaha native who lives in Atlanta, competes in the open stone event of the Highland games during Scotfest at the Broken Arrow Events Park on Saturday. She took first place in the event and second place overall
Blacksmith Chuck Waite shapes a decorative cross during Scotfest in Broken Arrow on Saturday. In addition to traditional skills and music, festivalgoers can find ancestry information there.