Tartan Festival, Tourism board bring back Scots

By Paige Nash

The Scottish Tartan Festival will be returning to downtown Minden in the spring to host their 22nd anniversary event.  

This past April was the first year the event was held downtown, and with record-breaking attendance and high volume of out-of-state festival goers and vendors, it was an easy decision to continue hosting the event in this location.  

“Some new data has come in and helped us to get a better understanding of how many people actually were in this area attending the festival,” said Director of the Webster Parish Convention and Tourism Commission Serena Gray. “From the data research company that I corresponded with, we are looking at closer to 3,000 people who came to the Scottish Tartan Festival, which is about 1,000 more than what you guys were estimating.” 

This festival marked one of the largest events hosted in downtown Minden. With it being held in this area, event organizers were able to take advantage of the concrete areas to set up multiple stages, free parking allowed by the city and local business owners and a shuttle bus provided by the tourism commission.  

According to Gray, all those factors will be included in next year’s event, as well.

“We do not want to take away something that works so well,” she said. “Johnnye and I, while in preparations, were just seeing all the work that went into putting on such a successful event and there is no doubt this year coming up is going to be even bigger and better than last year.” 

With her new title of Director of Community Affairs, Kennon can be credited with all the hard work it took to keep the festival in Minden. This happened after a brief discussion with representatives of the Scottish Tartan Festival informing the tourism commission they were considering moving the event to Alexandria last year.  

“She is literally boots on the ground in Minden,” said Gray. “We could not do what we do without each other and without really amazing partners like you all who have decided to take advantage of the resources and opportunities that our office presents. We wouldn’t be here today without our grant program.” 

The tourism commission offers two grants – a $4,000 major event matching grant and a $2,000 advertising grant.

“We have money in the budget to award more of those next year. By the end of this year, we would have given more than $60,000 in these grants back to the community in order to have events like this take place,” said Gray.  

In the 15 years since the program’s inauguration, they have broken the $1 million mark in grant funding.