Northland News

Pipers, drummers and haggis, oh, my!

Tartan Day celebrates Scottish heritage

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Pipers piping, drummers drumming, ladies dancing and beefy men tossing 300-pound cabers -- all are part of Reynoldsburg's Tartan Day.

And there will be a chance to taste a Scottish "delicacy" called haggis.

Considering the fact haggis is traditionally made of "sheep's pluck," which is the sheep's heart, liver and lungs, it may take some Scottish bravery to take a big bite.

Tartan Day, sponsored by the Daughters of Scotland, is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at the Reynoldsburg Senior Center, 1520 Davidson Drive.

New this year will be the first Tartan Day Soccer Tournament, with second- and third-grade soccer teams competing in a round robin tournament beginning at 10 a.m. The tournament will be hosted by the Reynoldsburg Parks and Recreation Department.

Margaret McCullough, president emeritus of the Daughters of Scotland, admits that haggis "is not one of my favorites."

"It will be available in small individual cups to spread on crackers, so that people can get a taste of it," she said. "But we will also have homemade shortbread and other refreshments, including hot dogs and sloppy joes."

McCullough said Tartan Day has been celebrated in Reynoldsburg for about 18 years.

"Reynoldsburg was founded by eight Scottish families," she said. "The Grahams, the Taylors and the Livingstons were all Scottish."

One of those Livingstons was Alexander Livingston, who is known as the "developer of the tomato," and the reason Reynoldsburg has a Tomato Festival each summer.

McCullough said Tartan Day is a free event, honoring the accomplishments of the many Americans of Scottish descent. More than 11 million Americans can claim Scottish and Scottish-Irish roots, she said.

Entertainment includes the Capital City Pipes, Cyril Scott Pipe Band, Mad Maudlin Band, Boudica and the Columbus Scottish Highland Dancers, along with group dancing, drummers and children's games.

Members of the Columbus Crew and the team mascot, Crew Cat, also will participate.

"People will hear Celtic music and see Scottish country dancing, which is similar to square dancing but instead of a square, it is danced in a line formation across from each other," McCullough said.

She herself is one of the Scottish country dancers.

"I love the music and the dancing," she said. "We always have group participation, so people can come up and dance with us."

Don't expect to drink Scotch whiskey at the event, though.

"We want to keep the event family-oriented, so we don't offer beer or any other kind of liquor," she said. "We want to give people a feel for the Scottish arts and culture."

The caber toss is always a popular event, McCullough said.

"The caber is a six-foot pole that guys pick up at one end and tip it end over end to try to get it to fall directly at 12 o'clock," she said. "We will also have a sheath toss, where a bale of hay is tossed over a pole-vaulting pole, which keeps moving higher."

McCullough said vendors will offer Scottish jewelry and other items and storyteller Melanie Pratt will recite old Gaelic tales.

"We will also have a demonstration of antique weaponry, with some of the old broadswords and claymores," she said.

The children's games will include a bean bag toss and a caber toss, using large cardboard rolls that come with rugs.

McCullough said she has attended every Tartan Day in Reynoldsburg, even though she lives in Clintonville.

"I took over coordinating the event from Anne Myles Lamb," she said. "It's a wonderful community event and fun for everyone."

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