The opening festival ceremonies were held Friday evening with the Calling of the Clans, the Tullintrain Pipe Band and Gaelic Blessing. It was lovely.
Friday was hectic leading up to the opening ceremonies. Par for the course, never fails we were running late. It was chaotic getting the vehicles loaded with all things needed for the 2 day event, figuring out who was riding with who, who was driving what, who was meeting who where. It was not until we had the tents set up, organized and all in their proper places were we able to breath a sigh of relief and enjoy the moment
Yet again we were running late Saturday morning. We were to be parked and at the vending tent by 8:00 (Festival opened at 9:00). Lucky we made it by 8:30 with no problems. Well other than Dad looking at his watch when we arrived.
Sister and I took turns working the vending tent. During my breaks I made a point of visiting all of the animal exhibits. My first break I grabbed the better half and scurried over to the Shetland sheep. The Shetland breed has been on my I Want’itis list forever. I am going to add a couple of these sheep to the farm if it is the last animal I ever purchase. They are just simply adorable. Their fleece is amazing, their size is perfect and they eat opposite of the goats. Goats browse up where sheep browse down.
Any hoo, I was impressed last year by the woman who had the Shetland sheep at the festival. Oh and remember my mentioning I thought I had met another Blogger in real life. Well, she was the Blogger. I wasn’t sure how she would react if I mentioned I read her blog. She actually took it well, possibly shocked, but in stride. Jim and I both greatly enjoyed talking with her. It was actually the highlight of my day just looking at the sheep. The icing on the cake...we will be visiting with her again soon. She has 2 wethered ram lambs we would like to buy. I am so hoping within the next month or so we will be adding the boys to the farm.
If you have never been to a Celtic Festival (large or small) you should go at least once. It is amazing to experience the music, traditional athletic games and heritage of the Celtic nations.
The food isn’t too bad either. In addition to the normal festival food fare (hot dogs, corn dogs, hamburgers) there was Shepherd’s Pie, Toad in the Hole, Haggis (not the traditional sheep, these folks used beef), Scotch Eggs, Neeps (turnips) Tatties (potatoes), Bangers (sausages), Fish & Chips, Whiskey Cake, Rum Cake, Scones, Shortbread Cookies the size of dinner plates and the always to die for Bread Pudding. I believe some attend the festival just for the food (as my better half does).
This year our family was bestowed the honor of being the 2008 Honored Clan at the Festival. The powers that be also bestowed the honor of placing our vending spot next to the largest food vendor. It was excellent for business, as well as made the better half extremely happy. He didn’t have to go far to find food.
I have to mention the Scottish Highland Beef. Each year I indulge in a Highland Coo-wich. Not sure the spices used, have no clue on the recipe actually the sandwich is nothing to rave about. I just know it is made with pure Highland ground beef. It's kinda like a Sloppy Joe with out the sloppy tomato sauce. So basically a ground beef sandwich. They also offered Highland Beef Brats, Highland Beef Franks made from local organically raised Highland beef. (Yeppers even away from the farm I can Eat Local.)
Last year we talked to the cattlemen who had their Highland cows on display due to the interest the better half has in raising our own beef. We thought the Highlands would be do-able for our farm. Again this year the cattlemen were in attendance along with their cattle. I met Velveteen a wee baby Highland calf. After looking in her eyes, petting her little head and talking to her I highly doubt I could eat another Coo-wich without thinking of her. I have officially sworn off Highland beef.
Saturday was a whirlwind of activity, so much to see and do. There were Clydsedale horses along with carriage rides, Irish Dexters, the sheep & duck herding plus a Birds of Prey demonstration and presentation. I missed seeing the Dog Show & Competitions, either they were not there or it occurred during my time at the tent.
There was a Handfasting Scottish Wedding held during the Festival. The groom was so handsome in his kilt; the bride wore a traditional white gown. My photos were not so good due to being so far away from the pavilion.
Speaking of photos, I had some excellent photos from Friday, which are now lost out in cyber world somewhere. I thought I had them saved, but nothing was there once I went to retrieve them. The only photos left were these few I took Saturday.
There were a number of demonstrations I was unable to see but others reported back that the Re-enactment demonstrations, swordplay and Gypsy’s were good. For the kids there was archery, a puppet show and one of those huge blow up bouncing castle things you can see in the distance behind the blacksmith. While busy in the vending tent I missed the Parade, most of the Scottish dancers, storytellers and musicians.
I absolutely love the bagpipes. I also loved the music of Jim Malcolm who we were blessed to hear perform at the festival.
It actually turned into a larger family affair than we expected. The better half convinced his brother and sister-n-law to bring the grandchildren. One of his nephews also showed up with a couple of his friends. A few of our neighbors and friends came to check out the festival for the first time. It was nice to see and visit with those we had met at the previous festivals. I also met one of the belly dancers, which turned out to be a friend of a friend…who’da thunk. (Jim thinks I should take lessons. Yeah right the belly dancing goat farmer…NOT)
I didn’t get to see much of the games, did see the Sheaf Toss, had hoped to see Tossing the Caber and The Stone Put. Those lads in kilts do have some strength!