This type of event has never caught my attention because it seems contrived, but we thought we’d give it a try since it was such a beautiful day.
To our surprise and enjoyment we had a great time. We watched athletes throw a pole (caber), sack (sheaf), shot put (weight), and a heavy ball on a stick (hammer); saw the dancers defy gravity; listened to some fantastic bands; witnessed a lot of axe throwing, and all the while a cacophony of bagpipes, fiddles, and flutes played in the background, non-stop. I’d forgotten how much I like the fiddle and how it makes you want to break out into dance, and it was fun seeing all the clans in their tents, showing off their tartans and telling their stories. The costumes were colorful and ornate. Even many of the visitors, especially women, came dressed up in highland garb, with beautifully adorned Scottish dresses and gillies (shoes). Several women displayed their tartan sashes through their handbags while others wore them in a traditional manner over their regular clothes.
The crafts were abundant and high quality, as was the food of Scotland. But as hard as I tried, I couldn’t find one single skein of Scottish wool. However, the most amazing event was the loss of a four-year-old named Zack. This drama went on for about 20 minutes, with almost constant loud-speaker announcements of Zack’s age, attire, and hair color. You could tell every mother on the fairgrounds by their bloodless, ashen faces when the announcement first started. All during the search the panic was palpable. But in the end, Zack was back! A rousing cheer made its way through the throngs of people, and everyone got back to their normal facial color. Seriously high drama!
The only thing missing was a beer tent. You’d never find a Irish Festival without one.