S. Scott Powers
Executive Director, Columbia Regional Sports Council

Columbia to Host Highland Games and Celtic Festival
Tartan Day South to be Held at Historic Columbia Speedway for the First Time

Columbia, S.C. - (February 28, 2011) - South Carolina has one of the largest Scottish and Irish descendant populations in the United States. The Historic Columbia Speedway is bringing one of the most entertaining cultural events to Columbia for the first time. Highland Games are a set of athletic competitions that predate recorded history. The most popular is the Caber Toss where the competitor tosses a pine log. This celebration of Celtic culture will include live music from the region, Celtic dancing, storytelling, artist, a British car show, and much more. The festival is centered around National Tartan Day, which is the day the US Government designated in 2005 to honor the contributions of Scottish and Irish descendents throughout our history. There is nothing like a field of Pipe Bands to celebrate the heritage of so many from the midlands. Tartan Day South is a truly educational, cultural, and fun filled event for the whole family.

This first-time ever Columbia event, will take place April 1-2 in West Columbia and Cayce. For more information, please logon to or call John Banks at 803-665-7620.

WHAT:    Press Conference and special demonstrations
WHO:       Tartan Day South
WHEN:    Thursday, March 3rd at 10:00 a.m.
WHERE:  Historic Columbia Speedway
                        2001 Charleston Hwy.
                        Cayce, SC 29033

The Columbia Speedway, located at 2001 Charleston Hwy in Cayce, has a deep-rooted history that includes some significant firsts. A young Richard Petty ran his first race there on July 12, 1958 in a 1957 Oldsmobile convertible. He won his first ever race there a year later on July 17, 1959. Columbia Speedway became the spot of the first NASCAR race to be held under the lights when the Grand National series made its first ever stop there on Saturday night June 16, 1951. That night Studebaker got its first and only NASCAR win when "The Rebel" Frank Mundy got to the checkers first. Chevrolet got its first NASCAR win at Columbia Speedway when Fonty Flock drove a 1955 Chevy to victory on March 16, 1955. Other first include Buck Baker's first Grand National win on April 12, 1952 in a 1951 Hudson. Buddy Baker ran his first ever race at this historic track on April 4, 1959 in a 1958 Chevrolet. All the stars of the sport during that era raced at Columbia. Ralph Earnhardt, Lee Petty, Curtis Turner, Tiny Lund, David Pearson, Cotton Owens, Little Bud Moore, are only a few of the greats who came to race there.

# # #

About Columbia Regional Sports Council
The mission of the Columbia Regional Sports Council is to strengthen the area's economy by marketing and selling the Columbia, SC region (City of Columbia, Lexington County, Richland County) as a premier destination for sporting events, partnering with local sports organizations to grow and develop existing events, and by recruiting new events which provide an economic benefit to the region by generating room nights, food and beverage sales, and associated tax revenues.