ARCA's 1st Scottish Festival

For just one day, on the 15th of August, 2009 Foxburg added a new dimension to it’s many facets – a celebration of Scotland. The sound of bagpipes filled the air as the strolling bagpipers marched about throughout the day. Men outfitted in their finest kilts roamed the grounds while sheepdogs rounded-up all of the roaming sheep. There was Scottish music, food and crafts at every turn, and even Scottish clans – the theme of the day was that of a land so rich in cultural heritage that it was teeming at the Riverstone Farm. Rightly so it was, due to the fact that the original benefactor of Foxburg, Joseph Mickle Fox, was responsible for bringing the game of golf to Foxburg after enjoying it in St. Andrews, Scotland. So many years after he enjoyed the Scottish countryside, the Scottish countryside came to Foxburg. It was a day like no other Foxburg had ever seen.

To do full justice to this story, let’s step back to the evening before the festival, when the celebrations actually began. Friday night, the festival commenced with ‘Ceilidh’, a Gaelic term meaning “a social gathering with traditional music, dancing, and storytelling” at 7pm. Johnathan Shegog played the bagpipes to welcome visitors to downtown Foxburg for the event held in the grassy nook between Foxburg Free Library and Foxburg Wine Cellars. Throughout Ceilidh, Carl Peterson and Robert Murdoch sang folk songs joined by Melinda Crawford on the fiddle and her husband Dan Crawford accompanying on piano. It was a joyous open air concert interlaced with the sounds of the bagpipes up and down the valley.

Saturday’s events started with the opening ceremony by MacDonald Pipe Band from Pittsburgh and was followed by various events including athletic performances wherein athletes displayed their strength and skills with the Caber Toss and Stone Put, sheepdog herding demonstrations by Tom Conn & Pam Gardner, and a variety of live music by the MacDonald Pipe Band and other performers. There were many craft vendors selling their wares ranging from pottery to kilts to hand pulled wool. Foods of the Highland included traditional Scottish delights such as meat pies, sausages, homemade cookies or folks could even have a slice of pizza by Foxburg Pizza. Other businesses in Foxburg also joined in the festivities with wine from Foxburg Wine Cellars, and Chocolates by Divani Chocolate Boutique to give the visitors a taste of the town. Inside the Events Center, kids enjoyed stories and songs by John Mickle and also had an opportunity to learn some Gaelic from Harry Webb. Popcorn, chocolate and ice cream were some of the tasty treats readily available for snacking… a kid’s dream come true! Visitors awaited horse carriage rides given by the Hovis family of Emlenton and Segway Tours promoted a new kind of “leisure sport” with a team of Segways, giving demonstrations and trials. Other attractions included various Scottish clan organizations who lined their tent along the roadway near the Galloway and Highland cattle. There, they shared their history and offered genealogy study and memberships.
The festival was interluded with announcements from the management, one of which was for the band to play the surprise ‘Happy Birthday’ tune for Dr Arthur Steffee, the owner of Riverstone Farm, who hosted the festival on his premises. Incidentally, during the closing ceremony, Dr. Steffee announced that he discovered at the festival that he is about a quarter Scottish.

A special “Moran taing!” goes out to all of the volunteers for ARCA in making this wonderful event such a success, after all it was a great day for Scotland and Foxburg!

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