A few weeks ago the Dunedin Scottish Arts Foundation held their Annual General Meeting to report on the past year’s activity to the local membership. I have been the president of this organization since June of 2018 and really appreciate and enjoy the opportunity to be involved with this community organization. The Dunedin Scottish Arts Foundation is a non-profit organization in Dunedin, Florida that presents the Dunedin Highland Games every spring and the Dunedin Celtic Festival every fall. These events serve two purposes. The first is that these are fun events in our community. The second is that they serve as a massive fundraiser for the Foundation, and the Foundation in turn, distributes those proceeds as grants to the Scottish Arts education programs in the Dunedin Middle School, High School and community band programs. In 2022, the Dunedin Scottish Arts Foundation donated upwards of $100,000 back into the Dunedin community.
The Scottish Arts programs began in Dunedin in 1957, when the first sets of bagpipes were donated to the Dunedin Middle School in honor of the new Middle School that had just opened. From there, a teaching program to train young students in the Middle school how to play the bagpipes was initiated. As the program grew, interest eventually spilled into the Dunedin High School band program and the High School pipe band was started. Similarly, the City of Dunedin Pipe Band began in the early 1960’s with students who had graduated from the high school program and still wanted to play. Today, there are over 250 participants in the Scottish Arts programs in Dunedin, FL.
In 1964, the first Dunedin Highland Games was put on. This event was initially organized as a venue to showcase the local scottish arts programs, and was also a way that the Middle School, High School, and City of Dunedin Pipe Bands would work together to raise money for their organizations. The committee to present the event has evolved into what is now the Dunedin Scottish Arts Foundation and these traditions continue today with the Dunedin Scottish Arts Foundation seeking volunteers each year from the three band programs, in additional supportive members of the community, with the profits of events being distributed back to the bands.