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April 7, 2010 > Tartan Day Celebrates Scottish Heritage

Tartan Day Celebrates Scottish Heritage

By Emma Victoria G. Blanco

April 6th is National Tartan Day, the national holiday for all Scottish Americans; every year the eighth largest ethnic group in the United States come together to celebrate their heritage. For centuries Scottish-Americans have wielded enormous influence on American living and history, contributing greatly to the arts, science, politics and law.

On April 6, 1996, Newark was the first city in California to proclaim Tartan Day. The following year, the Tri-Cities Scottish Association of California (TSAC) celebrated its first Tartan Day Family Gathering at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont - one of the first large-scale Tartan Day events in the country.

In 2005, TSAC became the East Bay Scottish Association (EBSA) to account for the group's growth and its membership's expanding geographic scope. This year will be the 13th year that the EBSA is presenting Tartan Day at Ardenwood Farm. A flourishing organization, EBSA exists to promote Scottish culture and heritage through many activities and by supporting the endeavors of the members of the local Scottish-American community. EBSA President, Richard Brown stated, "The club has shown quite a bit of growth in the past few months and [it] is a good sign of the future of keeping Scottish culture alive in the Tri-Cities area."

All are invited to be a part of this dynamic organization. Anyone who is interested in Scottish music, history, dance, food, language, or art" is welcome to become a member.

EBSA members who share common ancestry (particularly noted by their surnames) may choose to be part of "clan associations." Clans are invited to attend Tartan Day Scottish Faire each year to set up booths and give out information about their clans, family histories, and tartans.

The western chapter of Clan Gregor is local to Fremont and represented at ten Gatherings and Games throughout Northern California. Clan Gregor has participated at Tartan Day at Ardenwood for the last six years and the Scottish Faire is the clan's first gathering of the season. "It is important to celebrate and remember our heritage as Scots and that America has been made great by being the melting pot of world cultures," stated Ed Sykes, Clan Gregor's chapter secretary. Clan Gregor can trace its roots back to 846 AD and the first kings of Scotland. It is proud to claim kinship to many notable figures in history, such as Rob Roy MacGregor (18th century Scottish folk hero and outlaw).

Other clans/societies expected to participate at Tartan Day include the Kennedy Society of North America, Clan Blair, Clan Cian, the Scottish American Military Society, and the Sons of Norway.

"This is a family friendly event in a beautiful park setting," said Brown. Kids can delight in finding a dragon wander through the grounds or enjoy face painting and crafts at the Children's Glens. A Living History performance will show life in Scotland through the ages, complete with sword fighting and perhaps an introduction to Mary, Queen of Scots.

There is plenty to be seen at the Faire. Popular local band, Pladdohg will be performing their Celtic rock/punk/folk repertoire, and for the second year in a row, EBSA is proud to host a sanctioned Northern Branch of the Western United States Pipe Band Association solo pipe and drum competition.

Brown is looking forward to an exciting event and "seeing people that I haven't seen in some time." He added, "Tartan Day is always like a reunion. It's the first major event of the season in the Bay Area, and a great way to start things off." Sykes couldn't agree more and enthused, "With the aroma of wonderful food, the skirl of the bagpipes and the colorful tartans, Ardenwood is transformed into a little piece of Scotland for the day."

Partake of authentic Scottish food, browse through the wares of craft and jewelry vendors, listen to folk singers, fiddlers and harpists, and marvel at the birds of prey. Head out to the farm on April 10th and bask in all things Scottish.

Tartan Day Scottish Faire
Saturday, April 10
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(510) 544-2797

Adults $10
Seniors (62 years and over) $6
Ages 4 to 17 $5
Age 3 and under free

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