36th Annual Highland Games
July 10th & 11th, 2020
The excitement begins Friday night with food and entertainment at the park. Prepare for fun on Saturday with Highland Dance, Highland Athletics, and bagpipe competitions. Listen to Celtic music and enjoy entertaining Scottish dances ranging from a sword dance to an Irish jig.
Don't miss the Friday night story telling and strongman competitions. Join us for Opening Ceremonies and Massed Bands Saturday at noon. Experience traditional ethnic food, vendors, and clans. Come and enjoy the fun family atmosphere of the Scottish Festival. Be sure to check out the schedule of events so you don't miss your favorite activities!
Friday 5:00 PM - 9:30 PM. Saturday 9 AM - 7:00 PM.
Payson Memorial Park
300 S Main St, Payson, UT 84651
Parking mostly on street.
Come connect to your Scottish roots. Our Clan row is the place to visit to find the heart and soul of the “family” in our games.
With a variety of clans in attendance, you are sure to make some new friends as you discover Scottish history and your own personal connections.
Clan booth registration is currently open. Please click the button below to download the form.
At our festival on Friday night come watch the Strong Man events.
On Saturday our traditional Highland Games begin. Caber Toss, Shot Put, Weight for Height, Hammer Throw will be competed.
The Caber Toss is definitely a crowd favorite and luckily Payson is the home of the Utah Caber Championship.
To register for competition please click the below link which will take you to the Utah Heavy Athletics site for information on what you need to do.
The dancers will compete in The Sword Dance as well as the Highland Fling, Scottish Lilt, Sean Triubhas, Flora McDonald's Fancy, Irish Jig (Scottish Version) and the Hornpipe.
The judges scrutinize foot placement, arm movements of the dancer, as well as the posture. Technique, timing, and deportment are the main observances taken into consideration in judging.
Registration information coming soon.
Payson Scottish Festival invites a variety of vendors to our festival. We prefer a Celtic flair to the items our vendors sell. We also allow non-profit organizations to promote their events.
Below are the vendor applications for regular vendors, non-profit vendors and food vendors. Please contact the vendor coordinator listed on your application if you have questions about the application.
Food Vendors are FULL for 2020.
The Payson Scottish Festival includes a massed bands at opening and closing ceremonies Saturday.
There are WUSPBA bagpipe solo and band competitions as well.
Registration is not yet open but when it opens we will include information on how to register.
If you have any questions please use our contact form below.
We have a great “Highland Games: Featherweight Division” where traditional events are tailored for the kid's smaller size. Activities occur Saturday and consist of mini-athletic events, games, face painting, storytelling, sword dancing and painted silhouettes.
Children 12 and younger are invited to compete in the children’s Highland Games. Children athletes can try their hand at the weight toss, sheaf toss, caber toss and sword duels.
We also have a playground and sandbox area for the kids!
FLOWERS of the FOREST
We remember those in the Scottish Community who have passed. This is an honorable tradition going back to the Selkirk Ridings honouring the lost at Flodden. The song and tradition is now used at many commemerances and funerals all over the world. Enter the name of a recently deceased individual (or individuals) in the contact form at the bottom of this page. Please include the "Flower of the Forest Name" that you would like to see honored at the Flowers of the Forest ceremony at our Highland Games ceremony. You may write a short tribute in the box as well.
This year Payson welcomes back Men of Worth. Donnie from Scotland and James from Ireland deliver incredible traditional and original songs and fantastic stories. James once said “This music is important because it needs to have life. I don’t think it’s in any danger of dying, but if you don’t nurture it, it will die. It’s also important to love and appreciate it as both a listener and performer. When that’s healthy, the music and the culture are healthy. It’s great fun. It’s great music.”
Come see the wit and wisdom of Men of Worth.
The stage will also feature other artists and Irish dancing! More info to come!
Keep QUALITY musical acts coming to the Payson Scottish Festival by making a small donation to this FREE festival!
Payson Scottish Festival is a 100% volunteer organization. If you are interested in participating as a volunteer please contact us using the form at the bottom of this page. Let us know what area you are most interested in volunteering with as well.
Click the button to see a list of our current board members who volunteer hundreds of hours to make this event possible.
Please use this form to contact us.
A SHORT HISTORY OF SCOTTISH GAMES
According to oral tradition, some version of the Celtic/Gaelic Highland Games predates Christianity. These gatherings were basically war games held with the intent to select the best warriors in each family tribe or clan.
The first Games in Scotland were organized in the 11th Century and specifically designated as a sporting event. During the reign of King Malcom III (1058-1093), the Brae O¹Mar, a fairly flat meadowland along the river Dee, was used for a royal contest to find the swiftest and strongest in the kingdom. The winners needed to be fast and have the necessary stamina to carry King Malcom¹s messages across the land.
Games were held throughout Scotland until the Battle of Culloden in 1746. After Bonnie Prince Charlie¹s defeat by the English, the Act of Proscription banned playing of the bagpipe, wearing of the kilt, gathering together of the people, and the carrying of arms under the penalty of deportation or death. That effectively squelched a good part of the Highland culture, and literally destroyed the old clan structure.
After the repeal of the Proscription in the latter part of the 18th Century, Highland Societies began forming, and in 1781 the first society Gathering was held at Falkirk. The success of this event led to the Gathering of the Clans and the Highland Games as we know them today. By the end of the 1820’s Games were once again being held throughout Scotland. In the United States the first Highland Games were organized by the Highland Society of New York in the mid 1800’s. The first games on the West Coast were held in San Francisco in 1865.
The first Highland Games in Payson Utah was in 1984.