Saturday, September 6, 2008

no, I didn't try the haggis

A few weeks ago, a patient told me about an upcoming huge Scottish festival during Labor Day weekend. John, genetically the most Scottish person in our family, wasn't really thrilled at the thought of going and he had some work to do, so I packed up the kids and went anyway, ready to explore the kids' roots and lie about the fact that I'm Irish.

My patient told me this was a BIG festival but I really didn't expect it to be as huge as it was. There really doesn't seem to be much of a Scottish presence around here. How many people would this thing actually draw? Turns out, quite a few, and from all over the country and Canada. There were many, many thousands of people and the fest was held on the fairgrounds of a neighboring county.

The first point of interest: the outfits. Kilts just make me kinda smile, in no small part thanks to this famous song:

Tons of people wore kilts, and/or sashes of their family's plaid over their shoulders.

And others dressed as, I don't know, English peasants or something. Maybe they really were English peasants. Many others combined their kilts with a tshirt which identified their clan.

Second point of interest: the music. We saw the Marine Band from San Diego, and more Scottish Pipe and Drum bands than I could count. They were here from all over North America for a competition, which we watched for quite a while but not nearly long enough to learn who won.

The girls were really pretty captivated with the bands. We positioned ourselves along the short parade route they took to and from the competition spot. I don't think the girls ever heard or saw bagpipes before, but they didn't seem to dislike them, so there's that.

There was a huge lawn area set up with tents for every major Scottish clan where folks were encouraged to stop and sign in and catch up strangers for the most part. I found the Fergy tent, which was actually one of the largest there. No wonder I guess, it's one of the oldest names and clans, and they welcomed us and played with the girls and chatted up the Fergy Society of North America (who knew there was such a thing?). I had to confess I wasn't actually genetically part of this "clan", but I married into it. That was good enough for them. I don't think I mentioned yet that beer stands and whiskey tasting stands were plentiful.

John's family clan has two plaids: an ancient (left), which I guess is SO out of style these days, and so there is also a modern plaid (right). Not wanting to give in to fashion trends, I bought a scarf in the ancient pattern (but didn't wear it).

The girls especially enjoyed the dancing, which took two main forms: the couples dancing in varying formations, and the mostly young/teenage girls who danced in unison on stage.

One of the dancers was sitting in front of us and the girls were really, really intrigued by her costumes. They tried asking her about it a few times, but she wasn't too interested in explaining it all.

The supposed highlight of the festival is the Highland Games that go on all afternoon. We stopped in and watched for a while, but the girls didn't find any of this as interesting as the dancing or music elsewhere, so we bailed on the games after only about a half hour.

Overall we really had a great time. Sure, they sold Scottish food, but they also sold ice cream, so the girls were happy and I'd definitely come back too. I mean, my children's heritage aside, where else can you find eating and shopping like this?

1 comment:

MommaWriter said...

Oooh. You must tell me next time you intend to go. My kids are part Clan McGugin and part Clan Scott, so we ought to have some fun plaids to mess with, don't you think? Seriously though, throwing telephone poles? I can't imagine that wouldn't go over better with my two than a wee bit 'o dancin'...