Alma College is a co-sponsor and host of the annual Highland Festival in Alma, Mich. The college houses festival guests and all of the events are held on the campus grounds.
The festival began in 1968, when employees of the college decided that the town should have a festival to honor the Scottish heritage of the area. The Chamber of Commerce agreed.
Starting as a one-day event, it moved to a two-day event in 1972 as the festival added more and more competitions—and with those, more vendors and larger crowds.
Paula Moeggenborg, the executive assistant of the festival, says it is one of the few two-day festivals left of its kind.
“The mass bands—that’s everybody’s favorite part,” she says. “You never see 800 pipers and drummers together anywhere else.”
Events include dancing, piping and drumming competitions, a parade and a Ceilidh (Scottish party) featuring various Scottish bands.
Alma College students work at the festival in many areas, including helping guests staying in the residence halls.