Bagpipes played at the Arkansas Scottish Festival
This is the 31st year for the festival.
The Lyon College Pipe band is a favorite at the festival.
No one is sure when they were invented. Bagpipes first show up in European art around 1300. But since the 16th century, they have been most closely associated with Scotland.
The Lyon College Pipe Band is a proud tradition at the liberal arts college, and so is the Arkansas Scottish Festival.
"The drumming style is a lot different It's a lot sharper. The attacks are a lot more intense," said Alex Moeller. He came to Lyon from Austin, Texas.
Moeller played drums in the marching band there and decided to give the college pipe band a try.
Moeller explains, "The attacks are a lot more intense and everything is a lot more about dynamics and changes in rhythm."
And he remembers the first time he put on the required traditional Scottish kilt, "Breezy. I mean, it's unique. I mean, you don't wear a kilt everyday. It's pretty different, yeah."
But Alex isn't alone. There seem to be kilts everywhere at the festival.
Lyon College was founded in 1872 by the Presbyterian Church.
And their association with the highlands of the Scottish homeland has turned into this annual event.
"I like wearing the kilt. I like wearing highland attire. It's a lot of fun. You should try it," says Ken Stewart, who is the Commissioner of the Stewart Society.
He's at the festival - just like the representatives of other Scottish clans - hoping to find new members of the family, and tell them how the Stewarts once ruled the British isle.
Stewart traces the family lineage on a chart, "And he married Robert de Bruce's daughter Marjorie. And their progeny became the first Stewart monarch of Scotland. And then it lasted for well over four hundred years, Scotland and England as well."
A favorite at the festival is the bonniest knees competition.
Two judges are blindfolded, and then sample by feel the knees of the contestants.
There may be no true Scottish connection to this contest. The winner on this day is actually Irish.
"I started blowing in that pipe, my head got all dizzy," says contest winner Kyle Corrigan, explaining the first time he played the bagpipes.
Corrigan is also a member of the pipe band. He got interested in the instrument watching St. Patrick's Day parades in his home town.
Corrigan continues, "We saw an add in the paper for Gibson Bagpipes, a pipe maker about ten minutes from where I lived in Cleveland, Ohio. And I just started bugging my parents and finally got a practice chanter and never turned back."
It may not be the land of William Wallace. But there's a slice of Scotland right here in the Natural State in Batesville at Lyon College.