My Scottish blood got to sing today, and rejoice in the soulful sound of bagpipes, in neighboring Oklahoma. Greg and I joined my sisters, nieces, nephews and their children at the Oklahoma Scotfest 2018, in Broken Arrow.
This annual event, which draws more than 25,000 participants, is a celebration of Celtic heritage, music and history. The festival features Scottish clans, set up in booths, athletic competitions, drum and pipe bands, Scottish and American food, and vendors selling a variety of Scottish wares. Traditional folk music as well as Scotrock is performed throughout the three days of the event, in stages set up in tents.
For the first time my Scottish clan, the Maitland Clan, set up a booth. My family and I had the pleasure of meeting another clan member, Annette. We enjoyed chatting and getting to know her.
Photos from Scotfest
Here are highlights from the fun day:
The clan tartans on display.
Doing genealogy research, Greg has discovered a Scottish connection to the Buchanan Clan.
We enjoyed watching border collies compete to herd sheep. The dogs respond to whistled commands from their owners.
Look at these cuties! Weston and Lola arrived in kilts.
These handsome boys purchased their kilts at the event. Later Ethan and Kaleb wore their kilts to a Cub Scouts meeting and used the experience as a teaching opportunity to explain what a kilt is.
Athletes from around the world competed in Highland games.
Pipers and drummers preparing to perform. I absolutely love the sound of bagpipes.
The band Wicked Tinkers performs in the main tent.
The festival provided wonderful opportunities to step into Scottish culture, in the middle of the US, and learn more about my heritage. It was especially fun to share the day with family and make new friends.
I loved the busy and rowdy atmosphere, the many colorful tartans on display, and the ever present wail of bagpipes. That sound stirs a deep response in my soul and calls to me. It is an invitation to return home, to Scotland.
The Scottish festival, held this weekend in Tulsa, OK, just completed its 37th year. I have wanted to attend for a very long time, however September is a busy month in my family and in my business. Even during my Year of Firsts in 2014 I was unable to go, much as I wanted to. This year I set the firm intention that this time, I was going to attend this event.
And I did! Accompanied by my sister Debbie and my niece Ashley, today the three of us experienced our first Scottish festival, immersing ourselves deeply in our heritage. It was a fun day, captured in photos and a couple of short videos.
Although the weather was predicted to be very Scottish-like, the storms stayed to the south and we had bright blue skies and very warm temps. We planned to attend, rain or sunshine. The mild weather was a gift.
This was exactly what we expected to see…men in kilts. The Highland Games were going on. There was a field full of kilted athletes, throwing a variety of heavy objects.
And there were women in kilts as well, participating in the games. They were every bit as competitive as their male counterparts. I read tonight that the women’s team won the Highland Games!
We enjoyed watching the Caber Toss, a traditional Scottish competition. The caber is a tree that has been cut and trimmed down so that one end is slightly wider than the other. It can vary in length from 16 to 22 feet and weigh between 100 and 180 pounds. The smaller end is rounded off so it will be easy to cup in the thrower’s hands. The caber is stood up for the thrower with the large end up. The thrower hoists the caber up and cups the small end in his hands. He takes a short run with the caber and then stops and tosses it so that the large end hits the ground and the small end flips over, away from the thrower. The caber is scored for accuracy as it lands. A judge behind the thrower calls how close to the 12:00 position the small end of the caber lands, 12:00 being a perfect toss.
My happy Scot face!
We visited the clan tents, set up near the game field. Clan Maitland wasn’t represented, however, we were invited to host a Maitland/Lauderdale clan tent next year. That would be fun!
Vendor tents offered a wide assortment of Scottish wares: tartan sashes, kilts and scarves, Celtic jewelry, T-shirts, books, food, drink, cigars, toys, tea sets and so much more. We browsed and made tough decisions as we selected merchandise. I came home with a Scotfest T-shirt and Scottish spices to cook with.
Ashley and Debbie learning about spices.
Authentic Scottish food was offered on site. I selected the healthiest item on the menu, Shepherd’s Pie, with a potato topping over a mix of vegetables and a small amount of ground beef. I ate meat for the first time in almost two months, and while the meal tasted great, I am waiting to see if I experience any negative effects on my health or body. I don’t intend to add meat back into my diet. I had a wonderful side dish of cooked cabbage. And I passed the shortbread cookie, included with lunch, on to my sister.
As we dined in the large music tent, we were entertained by The Tartan Terrors, a Scottish rock band. They were awesome! Their ensemble included a piper and an Irish river dancer. There were other tents set up, featuring folk music and pipes and drums. The sound of bagpipes is a siren call to the Scottish. Everytime I heard a bagpipe, my head swiveled to find the piper. Watch The Tartan Terrors HERE and HERE.
Before we left, we watched a few minutes of the rugby match that was underway. I don’t pretend to know all the rules for this fast paced game but there was a lot of activity on the field! This is a fairly recent addition to Scotfest. Teams from across the US competed.
We had an incredibly fun day. It was interesting to people-watch and to chat with other clan members. There was an abundance of kilts and Scottish accents. The crowd was friendly and polite, the food delicious and the music turned my heart toward my beloved Scotland.
Ashley, Debbie and I intend to return next year, with other family members in tow. We’d love to take our grandchildren to this event…they had a large children’s play area…and introduce them to the Scottish culture and teach them about their Scottish roots.
And perhaps introduce them as well to traditional Scottish clothing. Truly, is there anything cuter than a child wearing a kilt?