DANDRIDGE, TN – This annual event will kick-off with a free concert for the community on Friday night, September 29th. The Highland Stage behind Town Hall will feature Kathryn & Rusty Powell, Trip Rogers, and Wild Blue Yonder. Kathryn & Rusty will play soulful Scottish ballads and Trip will entertain with energetic Irish Tunes. Wild Blue Yonder will bring Celtic music with an Appalachian flavor for the enjoyment of the crowd. A food truck and the Ale Garden will be available during the concert.

On Saturday, September 30th, outstanding Scottish & Irish Entertainers will vie for attention with the Bagpipe & Drum Band Challenge  which will take place on Main Street in downtown Dandridge. The festival remains 100% Sponsor & Patron driven as it provides free admission to the public for all events on Friday and Saturday.

The Color Guard from the Scottish American Military Society will lead the way for the combined pipe bands during the glorious parade at 12:00 noon. Former Congressman Jimmy Duncan and Mrs. Vickie Duncan will serve as Grand Marshals for the parade. Congressman Duncan served for over 30 years in the US Congress, cofounded the Friends of Scotland caucus, and served as co-chair of the group for 15 years.

Saturday’s experience will be a trip back in time to enjoy the heritage of the original Scots-Irish who settled in East Tennessee ca. 1783, following the Revolutionary War.  Visitors will experience Scottish & Irish music, Highland Dancing, Irish Step Dancing, Heritage organizations, Highland Clan booths, Highland Cattle & Black Faced sheep exhibits, Highland Athletic demonstrations and Storytellers for both children and adults.  Scottish & Irish Food, baked goods, meals and treats will abound, as well as Scots & Irish merchandise vendors. Back by popular demand for 2023 is our fabulous Ale Garden featuring a selection of Scottish, Irish & Mountain ales from Highland Brewing.

More than twelve Clans and Heritage Organizations will be taking part in the Festival. Visitors are welcome to talk with the representatives of these groups to learn more about their history and make connections with their Scots-Irish heritage.

The Highland (Main) Stage entertainment will feature bands SYR Music (Columbia, SC) and Celtic Conundrum (Dunedin, FL).  On the Lowland Stage, Kathryn & Rusty Powell (Arlington, TX) and Trip Rogers (Charlotte, NC) will perform along with piper & harpist, Kelly Shipe, (Knoxville, TN). Demonstrations of Highland Dancing and Irish Step Dancing will also be presented on the Lowland Stage.

The Pipe & Drum Band Challenge Competition will include the Knoxville Pipes & Drums; the Chattanooga Pipe Band; and the Memphis Pipe Band.  These bands will play twice each during the day, as well as marching in the Ceremonial Parade on Main Street at Noon and as Mass Bands on the Dike at 4:00 PM.

Individual entertainers of renown include Robert Valentine, Scottish Emcee (Murray, KY); Piper/Harpist Kelly Shipe; Highland Dancers from the Smoky Mountain Highland Dancers (Knoxville, TN); as well as award winning Irish step dancer Katie Carver (Chattanooga,TN) and her students from Maryville, TN.

Following the Saturday evening Ceilidh (concert) on Loch Douglas, most of the day’s entertainers will be on stage for a special Ceilidh Encore. Bagpiper Kelly Shipe will then close the evening with her annual rendition of ‘Piper on the Dike’ while spotlighted on the otherwise completely dark dike behind Town Hall & the Highland Stage.

‘Days Gone By’, an old-time children’s playground returns again this year. Volunteers will entertain children of all ages with face painting and hands-on crafts. The Games’ Highland athletic demonstration will be performed by Randy Gratz, Lt.Col. (USAF retired) now of the Florida Keys.  Randy will demo events including the caber toss, hammer throw, stone put and more.  Phil Lakin will be bringing his Highland cattle, Scottish black-faced sheep and his Border Collie sheep dogs, a must-see exhibit for guests.  Roger Kelley (Jefferson City) will exhibit his Civil War books & uniforms.

Visitors to the event are welcome to bring leashed, well-behaved dogs to participate in the dog parade down Main Street, scheduled for 11:45 AM.

While the weekend of family fun and festivities celebrates the area’s Scots-Irish roots, the event appeals to a wide range of guests – whether their ancestors were Scots-Irish or not – for a day of outstanding fun, food and entertainment.

“The Dandridge Scots-Irish Festival has been a favorite for many of our friends and neighbors each year,” said Festival Coordinator Mike Dockery. “Our sponsors, patrons and volunteers all enjoy seeing the smiles and excitement from our many visitors.”

In addition to educating the public, the Festival aims to create a significant and lasting impact on the East Tennessee community.  For information of becoming a Sponsor or Contributing Patron, please see ‘Sponsors’ or ‘Thistle Club Patrons’ on www.ScotsIrishFestival.com.

 For more information about the festivities, visit www.ScotsIrishFestival.com or contact Chris Umberger at info.scotsirishfestival@gmail.com. We can also be found on Facebook at ‘Dandridge Scots-Irish Festival’.  You are invited to join our Facebook Public Group.  The Dandridge Scots-Irish Festival is an IRS 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

Dandridge Scots-Irish Festival Fact Sheet

  • All Activities: Free Admission to the Public
  • Downtown Dandridge, Tennessee, on Historic Main Street
  • Opening Concert: Friday, September 29, 2023 – 6:30 to 9:00 PM
  • Food Truck and Ale Garden available
  • Festival Date:  Saturday, September 30, 2023 – 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM
  • Scottish, Irish & Celtic Music LIVE on Stage
  • Highland Dancing & Irish Step Dancing Demonstrations
  • Highland Games Demonstrations
  • Scottish, Irish & American Food, Baked Goods, Meals & Treats
  • Pipe & Drum Band Parade & Ceremony at Noon
  • Former Congressman Jimmy Duncan & Mrs. Vickie Duncan will serve as Grand Marshals for the Parade
  • Bagpipe & Drum Band Challenge Competition
  • Scottish Clan & Heritage Society Exhibits
  • Ale Garden featuring selections from Highland Brewing
  • Children’s Playground, Activities, Music & Storytelling program
  • Highland Cattle, Black Face Sheep, and Border Collie Exhibits
  • Professional Storytellers & Historians