For 40 years Estes Park has been the backdrop for one of the nation’s largest celebrations of the heritage, the sounds, the tastes, and the arts of the Scottish and Irish cultures.
The clans arrive in their very best, emblazoned in their clan colors, each touting the best of the family lines while ribbing the others this is the big event everyone going no holds barred setting up their areas… Awards are always handed out at each event to the clans for best presentation, best parade formation and so much more. There are even joke awards handed out annually to the various clans by the others, mainly ranking the Scotch that is brought and offered to the other clans. Really, should there be any other reason to judge another but by the liquor that is provided?
This three-day event is held annually the weekend after Labor Day. Estes Park’s Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival is the largest gathering of its kind between the Mississippi River and California. It traditionally hosts bands – from the marching kind to the rocking kind and everything in between – hailing from Great Britain, Scotland, Ireland, Canada and of course, the United States.
With jousting knights, dancing girls, hoisting athletes and calling bagpipes, groups and families of all ages will catch the Celtic spirit at this festival – surrounded by the scenic peaks of Estes Park!
One of the weekend highlights is the free hour-long parade on Elkhorn Avenue, Estes Park’s main street. Bagpipes, drummers, dancers, clans in tartan, Dogs of the British Isles, brass military bands and precision drill teams give a preview of what can be seen on the festival grounds.
As always at these events it is only about one thing, seeing friends and family and making new ones.
By John Root