49th Alma Highland Festival kicks off Friday at Bahlke Field

For the 49th consecutive Memorial Day weekend, the City of Alma will host its Annual Highland Festival and Games. 

The event begins Friday and ends Sunday.

The Alma Highland Festival began in 1968 with an idea from David Mackenzie, an Alma College alumnus, and politician George Romney, father of former republican presidential candidate Mit Romney, to bring the Scottish heritage to Michigan. 

The open ceremony will begin at 12:15 p.m. Friday in Bahlke Field.

The festival includes Scottish food, live music, dances and, of course, bagpipes.

Multiple competitions will also be taking place, including road races volleyball, pickleball — which is a combination of tennis and ping-pong — and a Scot favorite of throwing stone.

Alma native Erica Guerrero, 32, manager of Stucchi's Ice Cream in Alma said the festival has a significant effect on her business.

"We have a huge revenue that we bring in form (the festival)," she said. "If the weather holds up, we should have a good weekend."

Rob DuVall, a 37-year-old Blanchard native and owner of College Corner Coffee and Books said the weekend is a good way to help the community.

"We're going to get some alumni to come through, but I look at it more as a service to help anyone that comes through," he said. "Whether they're associated with Alma College or not, it's a good thing."

All ages are welcome with tickets for sale online and at the gate.

On Friday, the festival will include a Choreography Dance Competition at 7:00 p.m. and a Jedi Mind Trip performing at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, the festival will host its 10k and 5k road races. Closing on Sunday, the festival will have its annual Highland Dance at 10:00 a.m. and its closing ceremony at 5:30 p.m. held at Bahlke Field.

The full schedule can be found on the event's website.