Tuesday 10: Scottish Irish Highland Festival

My wife started genealogy research in 2005. Her first project was to assemble a notebook of family history for my aunt’s 85th birthday celebration in Houston. Next, she started tracking our ancestors’ Revolutionary War involvement. Although I complain about all of the cemeteries and “roads less traveled” in pursuit of information, it has been interesting and intriguing. We have been to Vermont, New Hampshire, Virginia, Chicago, Washington, DC, and Ireland looking for clues.

My wife and I share the same ancestral roots and she found where her ancestors and mine intersected in Antrim, Ireland, in 1704. It is a small world! On our recent trip to Ireland, we were able to hold and look at a Quaker (her side of the family) leather-bound book from 1650 that contained more than one hundred years of notes. She discovered in the book information from 1725 that disputes published facts about her ancestor. It was a WOW moment.

If you have Scottich or Irish ancestry or just appreciate a good time, the 39th annual Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival takes place in Estes Park this weekend. I highly recommend it. http://www.scotfest.com/Scottish_Festival/Home.html.

Here are the Top Ten Scottish-Irish Highland Festival things to do. #EstesScottishIrishFestival

1. Tattoo Estes featuring the best Pipe Bands, Brass Bands and military drill teams in the world. This year the history honored will be the 300th anniversary of the Scots Grays Calvary Charge at Waterloo, the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the 70th anniversary of VE Day, and the 150th anniversary of the Salvation Army.

2. America’s largest Celtic parade attracts 40,000 spectators. Who doesn’t love a parade of costumes, music, dogs and more!

3. Celtic Music including traditional, folk and contemporary bands. Music will fill the air during the day and you can buy concert tickets for the evening. Did you know that Cape Breton in Canada boasts the most Celtic fiddlers per capita than any place in the world? A few years ago we had an amazing mini trip on the island, north of Halifax. Immerse yourself in Scottish traditions.

4. Highland games including hammer throws, putting the stone, and caber throwing contests. And, the Super Bowl of Jousting (dislodging the competitor off their horse in heavy armor)  will be for the world’s largest competitive purse in jousting.

5. Irish Dance and Highland dance is different and you can view competitions of both. Our favorite youngest daughter was an Irish step dancer (not the same as clogging) when she was young and I grew to appreciate the costumes and skills of this dance form. Thank Michael Flatley for the popularity of Irish Step Dancing in the states.

6. Dogs of the British Isles is always fun. From the Grand March of Dogs to races and agility contests, this is the place to be for dog lovers. Although we have owned Standard Poodles for the past decade, our first dog was a Gordon Setter (Scottish), our second dog was a Westie (West Highland White Terrier) and my folks owned a Kerry Blue Terrier (Irish). All great dogs but sometimes too smart and independent!

7. Scottish and Irish food vendors are an opportunity to try haggis, black and white pudding, deep fried Snickers bars and other treats from the “Isles”.

8. Irish whiskey, single malt scotch and Guinness! Do you know the difference between whiskey and whisky? Whisky without the “e” is scotch and scotch MUST be made in Scotland!

9. If you have been looking for the perfect Celtic merchandise, over 100 importers and crafters will be selling their wares.

10. More than 70 Scottish clans and societies will gather to share family histories. This year the honored clans are Johnston, Thompson, Maclean and Scott. We have Scott in the family on my wife’s side.

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