Department of Travel
Kentucky’s Scottish Events Would Please “Rabbie” Burns

Press Release Date:  Thursday, April 30, 2009  
Contact Information:  Chris Kellogg
Bob Adams

Kentucky’s Scottish Events Would Please “Rabbie” Burns

FRANKFORT, Ky.  If Robert (“Rabbie”) Burns, Scotland’s famed national poet, were with us today, he’d no doubt head for two Scottish celebrations in Kentucky where bagpipes hum and kilt wearing is encouraged.   The connection between the Bluegrass State and our feisty Celtic cousins is evident at festivals that feature Highland games, pipe bands, traditional music, clans and border collies on separate weekends in May.   


Some of Kentucky’s earliest Scottish settlers made their way here following Daniel Boone’s path in the 1700’s wilderness.  Vestiges of their contributions to culture in the commonwealth are celebrated here today.  “These great festivals make you believe you’ve found a wee bit of Scotland right here in Kentucky,” said Mike Cooper, commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Travel.


First, the annual Kentucky Scottish Weekend is set for Friday through Sunday, May 8-10, at General Butler State Resort Park in Carrollton.  Marking its 27th year, events include performances of Celtic music by competing pipe and drum bands, highland and country dancing and athletic contests. Other highlights of the weekend will include a British car show, demonstrations of border collies and Scottish goods for sale.


Situated where the Kentucky River meets the Ohio, Carrollton has become a charming town that was an early stopping point for the likes of Simon Kenton and James Harrod.   Today shops and restaurants will tempt festival goers to explore the countryside.  For more information on the celebration, visit or call Billie Andrews at 513-574-2969.  For information about Carrollton, log onto


Kentucky’s other big celebration of all things Scottish takes place at Barren River Lake State Resort Park near Glasgow, Thursday through Sunday, May 28-31. Along with Celtic music, dancing, and athletic competitions, the Glasgow Highland Games include sheep and dog demonstrations, a parade of tartans, the “bonniest knees” contest and a place to trace your Scottish roots through genealogy seminars. 


Kentucky crafters and traders and Scottish and Irish vendors will have wares for sale, and delicious foods, along with the governor’s breakfast and a tartan ball round out the schedule. For more information, visit or call 270-651-3141.


Glasgow, near Mammoth Cave National Park and the Brigadoon State Nature Preserve, is steeped in Scottish history and much more.   Festival goers will be captivated with its varied ties to Kentucky history and its small-town allure.  For more information, visit


Loaded with family fun (family passes are available) and entertainment which attracts thousands each year, both festivals provide a Scottish getaway without leaving U.S. shores.  Even Rabbie Burns would want to take in these Celtic getaways. 


Directions for both parks are available on the Kentucky Department of Parks Web site at .  Or call General Butler toll-free at 1-866-462-8853 and Barren River at 1-800-325-0057 for directions.  Each park features a lodge with guest rooms, cottages and campgrounds, along with restaurants that serve delicious meals daily. Activities include fishing, boating, hiking, golf and swimming. 


More information on other accommodations, restaurants and attractions near both festivals is available at Parks information is available at





The Kentucky Department of Travel, an agency of the Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet, exists to promote The Commonwealth as a travel destination, generate revenue and create jobs for Kentuc