Tuesday, September 8

Sticks and Stones... and Heavy Burlap Sacks of Stuff

Parade of Clans

No, there were no name callings, or anyone getting hurt (that I could see). For 'twas the 2009 Virginia Scottish Games and Festival, in The Plains, Va. Wanting to take advantage of the beautiful weather and this nice long weekend, I made myself get out of the house and by my lonesome off I went to this festival.

For the colonial Scot.
Kind of hot, if you ask me.

Foes Beware
Boy Scouts get ready to give their best Scout War Cry during the sword fight demonstration.

For $5 parking and $18 to get in, here's what I got to see.

Handy little Scottish inro.

There were many vendors present selling all sorts of Scottish wares, from jewelry to sporran to kilts to pirate bumper stickers.

Sword Hilts

Also featured was the "Living Encampment Display", where several otakus dressed up in period clothing and provided information about various topics, mostly of a military nature. It was actually pretty interesting, and must be fun for these folks who have studied the history for fun, and had historically accurate clothing made just for these types of events.

Joseph Goes Commando

The gentleman in the beret, for example, talked to me for quite a while about this reconnaissance vehicle, a Daimler Dingo, ca. 1942. Why do I remember the name, you ask? Because he also provided me with some literature, complete with the organization's website. Should you be interested.


Apparently there was also some sort of dog show, but I must have missed that. There were, however, tons of Scottish breeds wandering about with their people, as well as on display at various Dogs of Scotland tents.

Sporran and Fox Heads

Walking past a clan tent, I saw a man with what I thought was a small dog on his lap. Turned out it was just an animal head around his waist.


In the festival spirit, I bought myself some bad-for-you food (no haggis, thank you), and plopped down to eat, enjoy the view of the fields and listen to the assorted Scottish music playing all around. Soon, the bagpipes became not so distant, as they assembled right before me. As they decided where to go to perform, they chose a route that involved parting the waters... around me!

Tickled as could be, I dropped the chicken and fries in exchange for my camera, and took advantage of my fortunate angle.

When I spotted this bloke, I was enjoying the tunes of a great, lively Scottish band that was playing under the ... band... tent. They were awesome! During one song, the fiddler suddenly jumped off the stage with his wild blond hair and bounced up and down the aisle, fiddling away. The music was infectious, and but for a great amount of self-conscious restraint, I almost counted myself among the few folks who couldn't help but jump up and down to the music. Just grand. If I weren't so poor, I might have bought a CD.

Throwing Rocks

What would the Virginia Scottish Games and Festival be without the games?

Dudes in Skirts
Me likes.

The games I watched included throwing big heavy rocks shot put style, hurling long logs and tossing heavy burlap bags through an upright. With a pitchfork.

It's Good!

Girl Power

Some women also competed in the events - albeit against each other - and this girl was the only person I saw get the pole to get vertical. And she did it twice.

Kilts for Girls and Boys

The games were held at Great Meadow, host of the Virginia Gold Cup steeplechase, an event I would love to check out in the future. Assuming plebes such as I are allowed. Looking at the web page, I think I might be out of my league. And the tickets are $55. Maybe when I find my Sugar Daddy.

The last event I watched was the sheep herding demonstration, featuring border collies. Amazing creatures, them.

And that was Sunday. I came home with a spot of sunburn, exhausted - I'd spent nearly as much time driving as I did at the event - but happy that I'd been outside all afternoon.

Would I go back again? Probably not. While it was interesting, and a nice family outing, for $23 and an hour drive each way, it's probably a better deal if you're involved somehow in the events or the clans. But it was an experience, and fun.


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