If It’s Not Scottish…

We had such a wonderful time at the Robbie Burns Supper in January, we were keen on further embracing our Scottish roots and attending more Scottish events. After all, when Geoff & I were married, he wore a kilt. So he got decked out in his Armstrong tartan, I donned my Armstrong scarf and we drove up to Estes Park to check out the Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival.

There are many celtic festivals held over the summer, but we seemed to miss them. This one happen to fall on a free weekend for us, so we jumped at the chance to go. You can buy your tickets in advance, and if you do, you will save some money. We did not, but we only needed to pay for three tickets (plus parking).

It’s a pretty organized event, and has been going on for 30+ years. Aside from the clan tents, there are also scheduled events like jousting, caber tossing, dog agility. We saw none of those. What we did do was start at the Armstrong booth, have Elijah & Miles pick up passports, and let them run from booth to booth collecting stamps from the different clans. They thought this was awesome. We stopped extra long at Clan Cummins to see the Kellys, who represent their clan at all the festivals.

The passports & stamps

When we needed to dine, we visited the row of food stalls. The selections included fish & chips, haggis, bangers, deep fried Mars bar (which I wish I had tried) and meatballs on a stick. What I wanted was a hamburger, but those were nowhere to be found. I ended up picking a brisket sandwich that came with potato salad & beans. It was the shortest line, and it moved quickly.

There were a few tents that sold wares, and I resisted spending my dough there. At one tent though I discovered what tartan my family was permitted to wear. The Torrances (while I’m still unclear what clan/sept/family we belong to) wear the Edinburgh District tartan. So now I know that. 🙂

In the end we decided that the kids are still a little too young & wild to spend the day exploring a festival like this. And for the price we paid, it probably wasn’t worthwhile. We would have liked to see more, but it will have to wait for the future. We may have better luck at Tartan Day, which is celebrated in April, in Olde Town Arvada.

Now I just need to get my little Scots an Armstrong button, or a tam.

Robbie Burns Dinner

Robert Burns “The Bard”, Scotland’s greatest poet, is honored by Scots everywhere with an evening of poetry, whisky and haggis. Robbie Burns Dinners, held right around his birthday (January 25), invite Scots (or wannabe Scots) to gather and celebrate the life of the man who wrote so many poems and songs, including his most famous Auld Lang Syne.

Geoff and I joined our friends Kelly & Kelly at The Wildlife Experience for our first (of many, I hope) Robbie Burns Dinner. Upon entering you could see a sea of tartans. We checked in, and found our table, between the band and the silent auction. Mr. Kelly (as we call him to distinguish him from his wife) showed Geoff to the bar so they could have a pre-dinner scotch. The drink of choice was a Macallan. I perused the silent auction, and really only two things caught my eye. First was a bodhan, a celtic drum, which I hope someday to learn to play. The price was already too high for me, so I moved onto the second item, a bottle of Macallan, 12 year. I figured Geoff would like to add it to his scotch collection.

While chatting with Mrs. Kelly, Mr. Kelly and Geoff were greeted by Robbie Burns. We’re not sure what was said, but the men were laughing a lot.

An announcement was made that the evening was going to begin, so we took to our seats. A procession began, where the chieftain, and other council members of the St Andrew Scottish Society were brought to the head table. A second procession was brought in for the haggis. This pomp included the sword bearer, the scotch bearer, the haggis, a piper and a drummer. There is a scotch ceremony where the procession group drank from the quaich. Mr. Burns recited his poem Address To A Haggis and then plates of it were brought to each table. The rest of the meal was presented, and following dinner the traditional toasts were given. This format seems to be standard, and you can read about it here on Wikipedia.

It was a lovely evening, but we had told the sitter we would be home by 9:30, so we left before the dance. I did not leave empty handed, I ended up winning the bottle of Macallan. You’d think the entertainment would end at that point.

After the sitter left, we opened the bottle of whisky to admire it. Much to our surprise the bottle was 3/4 full. Humorous? Maybe a little. But I bid on what I thought was a full bottle. I contacted the chieftain the next day, and he was also surprised, and offered to resolve the issue. A member of the Scottish Society brought over a brand new bottle of whisky, a Highland Park 12 year.

We are seriously considering joining this society, they seem to be a great group of people. And we plan to be back to the Burns Dinner next January. Wishing you all sláinte mhaith!

Pictures I took at the event can be found on my Shutterfly account.
Here is info on the hosts of the event: St Andrew Society Of Colorado