Kilts, bagpipes and a Highland cow were on hand Saturday as the Utah Scottish Association held its 18th annual Scottish Festival and Highland games.
About 600 people gathered in the Fort Douglas courtyard, 105 Soldiers Circle, just east of the University of Utah, to see black- and red-trimmed bagpipes and colorful plaid kilts.The opening ceremony was addressed by Commissioner Mike Stewart, who stressed how important events like these are.
"Some of you are gathered here to learn about Scottish culture," he said. "Some are here because genealogy has played a big part in your life. We welcome you all."
The all-day festival began at 8 a.m. and ended at 4:30 p.m. It featured Scottish country dances, bagpipe-band and athletic competitions such as the caber and hammer toss.
Ken Milne, a native Scotsman who moved to the United States almost three years ago, said that he was happy this type of event interested so many people.
"The Utah Highland Games show good report for the Scottish people," he said. And, quoting Stewart, Milne smiled and said, "After this event is over, some people who were not born a Scot will wish they'd never been born."
Originally the games were competition among clans or family to gain honor and prestige. Now the competitions are focused on individuals and are not restricted to families.