The kilts are back: Tartan Day celebration draws thousands

Allen Wallace photos.

The Midlands’ celebration of all things Celtic grows bigger and more popular each year, and 2019 was no exception.

The ninth annual Tartan Day South celebration actually spanned four days and four cities, beginning with a kickoff party Thursday at the British Bulldog in Columbia.

Friday night the kilted crowd moved to Lexington for Celtic Commotion, an evening of music and culture from the British Isles.

Saturday’s main event at the Historic Columbia Speedway in Cayce offered a wide variety of Celtic food, shopping, music, culture and games. Guests had a chance to see everything from medieval weapon demonstrations to herd dogs and trained birds of prey in action.

The Highland games, always a big attraction, were a hit again Saturday. Large crowds gathered to watch events like the caber toss, the hammer throw and the sheaf toss, competitions which all originated in Scotland and Ireland many centuries ago. Also included was a Quidditch tournament, featuring a sport invented (or at least revealed to Muggles) much more recently.

“I can’t believe how strong they all are,” said nine-year-old Jason Anusavice, who attended the festival for the first time and said the games were his favorite part.

Many of those who came from all over the Southeast for the event camped at the Speedway for the weekend, and on Saturday night invited everyone to Drumsmoke, an evening of music around the campfire.

The Tartan Day celebration wrapped up Sunday in its fourth city, West Columbia, with the Kirkin’ of the Tartans, a worship tradition which began when the English Parliament essentially banned Celtic culture.

Planning is already under way for the 10th Tartan Day South. More information is available at

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Cayce, Columbia, Lexington County, West Columbia