The Soul of Scotland in Central Michigan
"A wee bit of the old Scottish ways"
Men in kilts. Highland dancing. Lots of sheep. Bagpipes. Celtic Fiddle competitions. A gathering of the clans. Traditional competitions involving throwing heavy things. And more men in kilts. They're all part of the Highland Festival in Alma, Michigan, the largest Scottish festival in the state. It's usually held Memorial Day weekend, on the campus of Alma College. (Sports squads here play under the name of the "Alma Britons".)
The Highlands Festival commences with a parade through Alma, which I had the good fortune to attend several years ago.
Parades are wonderful: stirring music, fancy dress, and community spirit all come together. There seems to be something instinctual and atavistic about the tradition of taking a formal walk on a specially sanctioned day.
The Montrose Blueberry Festival is held every August at the time of the Blueberry harvest, and has nothing to do with the Alma Highlands Festival. So it is generous of the Highland Parade organizers to allow the Blueberriers to pull their float and show off the Blueberry Queen.