July 11, 2005

Scottish Fair and Games

We spent this weekend at the Scottish Games and Fair of Minnesota. While neither of us is very Scottish, Serona does have some Scotch blood in him, we all had a grand time. Serona was excited to attend a place he would not be alone in his kilt. Though he found he was still different as he was wearing a UtiliKilt where most everyone else there was wearing a more traditional dress tartan kilt.

We arrived in time to watch the caber toss. For those of you unaware - big strong men in kilts throw very large poles (think telephone pole) and try to flip them 90 degrees. The kids thought it was a hoot and it was interesting to watch and those men have my admiration even if I can not understand the sport!

There were several other heavyweight games such as stone-throwing, weight tossing, hammer-throwing, and sheaf tossing. There was a tug of war, sheep herding (the border collies handled this), dance and of course music competitions. I do love the sounds of bagpipes and Celtic drums. To be surrounded by Celtic music all day was wonderful.

There were many good vendors and we managed to drop quite a bit of money. Both Serona and Ciaran bought their first dress black watch tartan kilt:

We also picked up a Celtic Sword, and great dress up stuff for the kids: swords, breastplates and shields that were reasonably priced, good quality and more authentic looking than you usually find.

The evening ended with a Ceilidh. For those unaware a Ceilidh is pronounced "Kay-lay", (emphasis on the 1st syllable), is many things. It derives from the Gaelic word meaning "a visit" and originally meant just that (and still does in Gaelic)! It can also mean a house party, a concert or more usually an evening of informal Scottish traditional dancing to informal music. Ceilidhs in the Lowlands tend to be dances...in the Highlands they tend to be concerts!

In many ways an Irish fair and a Scottish fair are similar. There are differences to be sure and I would never claim to be Scottish because I am Irish but there are many similarities that help you feel at home. The Celtic music and dress and overall attitude being the primary ones. Bagpipes, which are not that common, make you feel at home if you love them one way or the other. A Celidh and a Ceili (Irsh) are so similar it can be hard to tell the difference. No wonder I felt so at home being as Irish as I am.

We ended the evening with a failed attempt at camping there. After setting up tent and settling everyone down and fighting with them for over an hour we realized between the fireworks, music, and general sounds of people visiting it was going to be a long time before we settled them down, we had to head home - but all in all a great day. I highly recommend visiting one.



  1. What a lovely way to spend the day! I hope the guys enjoy their kilts.

    Zorak and his groomsmen wore the traditional Scottish garb for our wedding (I still wear the socks- they are SO comfortable!) And my wonderful brother (who is so not Scottish - a'tall!) was a great sport by donning a tartan from my heritage to walk me down the aisle.

    Hey, have you heard the celtic celebration cd, "From Dublin to Dakar"? It's a compilation of music from around the world that is influenced by Celtic tradition. It's fascinating.


  2. I think most hard-core Scots would tell you -- Scotch is the whiskey, your dh has Scottish or Scots blood, not Scotch. Well, unless there's something you don't blog about him . . . :o)

    --Gem, who is Irish and Scots, which accounts for children named Moira, Taeryn and Duncan.