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The 56th Scottish Gathering and Highland Games (www.saladoscottishfestival.com) will be held on the grounds of the Salado Civic Center, November 11-13. Heralding all things Scottish, this landmark event is the oldest Scottish festival in Texas and has been sponsored continuously by the Central Texas Area Museum since 1961.

“The Scottish Gathering is a vital part of Salado and its ancestral history,” says Melanie Kirchmeier, President of the Salado Chamber of Commerce. “The importance of this event serves to reinforce and celebrate those roots each time it returns. Its value is immeasurable to this community.”

The three-day event includes the skirl of the bagpipes, the wearing of the tartan, tossing the caber, Highland dancing, Celtic entertainers, shopping, food and fun. One of the event’s main features is the Clan Village, the largest gathering of Scottish Clan tents in Texas where Clan members share information about Scottish history and genealogy.

The weekend begins on Friday evening with the Calling of the Clans at 6:00 pm on the Salado Creekside just north of the Museum building on south Main Street. This is a solemn torchlight ceremony that recreates the coming together of the ancient Scottish clans to fight with Robert the Bruce for Scotland’s freedom in 1314 at Bannockburn.

The Civic Center grounds open Saturday at 9:00 a.m. The official opening ceremonies begin at noon with the Bands and Clans Parade on Main Street followed by presentations and piping on the grounds. The day’s activities include Scottish athletics, dancing and bagpiping competitions, live music, a Celtic marketplace and more.

Sunday events begin at 9:00 a.m. with the Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan, a traditional devotional service in which family groups carry banners of their family tartans and ask blessings on the families. The day’s activities include a dog parade, music, food, and shopping.