Kicking Off Summer with Bagpipes and Beer

May 22, 2024

Emily Simmons

by Emily Simmons

Emily understands the inner workings of the legislature and the intricacies that go into crafting and passing legislation.

As we enter the month of May, summer finally seems to be within reach! Memorial Day weekend is for boating, barbequing, camping, or whatever else you enjoy doing to ring in summer in Michigan. But for as long as I can remember, my long weekend has looked a little different, consisting instead of traditional Scottish kilts, bagpipes, pasties, local brews, and an intriguing selection of spectator sports. Instead of heading to a lake, I spend my Memorial Day weekend in Alma, at the annual Highland Festival and Games.

My hometown holds a special place in my heart. On a typical weekend, a traveler pulling off on US-127’s Exit 123 will be greeted by a quiet little college town, a welcoming community with a handful of cute shops and restaurants, and not much else. But for three days only, during the last weekend in May, Alma (better known as Scotland, USA) completely transforms as thousands flock to one of the largest Scottish festivals in the Midwest.

If you’ve never attended a Celtic festival, you might find yourself questioning the appeal, and honestly, you have to see it for yourself to truly understand why so many can’t get enough. In college, my (now) husband and I started inviting friends from out of town to experience the festival for the first time, and without fail, the moment everyone “gets it” is when they’re seated in the football stadium watching the massed bagpipe bands. You haven’t heard Scotland the Brave or Amazing Grace until you’ve heard it played by the hundreds of pipers from all over the country marching towards you on a warm May morning. I’m not ashamed to admit that I get full-body chills and shed a few tears every single year.

Besides enjoying the hauntingly beautiful bagpipes, festival-goers can meander to the beer tent to experience live Celtic music and sip some of Alma’s local brews, peruse the arts and crafts fair, taste traditional Scottish foods, see the border collies’ herding demonstration, say hello to the Queen of Scots and her court, buy a kilt, watch the various athletic competitions (like the caber toss, sheaf toss, or highland dancing), and more!

So, if you find yourself lacking plans this Memorial Day weekend, head on over to Mid-Michigan and check out the Alma Highland Festival and Games. You don’t have to be Scottish to enjoy one of my favorite summer events!

For more information, please visit

Michigan Legislative Consultants is a bipartisan lobbying firm based in Lansing, Michigan. Our team of lobbyists and procurement specialists provide a wide range of services for some of the most respected companies in America. For more on MLC, visit or connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Recent Posts

Unemployment Rate Steady

Unemployment Rate Steady

In May 2023, Michigan’s unemployment rate remained stable at 3.9% for the fourth consecutive month, while the national unemployment rate rose by 0.1% to 4.0%.  Michigan: The statewide labor force participation rate was stable at 62.3% over the month. Payroll jobs...

Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Established

Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Established

Through executive order, Governor Whitmer established a task to identify the root causes of gun violence, compile and report relevant data, maximize existing resources, solicit perspectives from diverse stakeholders, and recommend policy. “Too many Michigan families...

Department Announces Staff Changes

Department Announces Staff Changes

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) announced staff changes in the department’s executive office. Chief Climate and Energy Strategist: Kara Cook has been named to the position, where she will oversee statewide efforts to grow climate and...

Looking for older articles?

We’ve recently made improvements to our blog to provide a better user experience. If you’re searching for older posts, click here to search our archive.

Michigan Legislative Consultants
110 W. Michigan Avenue
Suite 500
Lansing, MI 48933
517.372.0130 fax

1001 Woodward Avenue
Suite 500
Detroit, MI 48226

MLC is proud to be the Michigan member of NASL