Last weekend my family and I went to the 40th annual Arkansas Scottish Festival at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. Due to my husband having a crazy work schedule before he was forced into premature retirement, it’s the first time we’ve been in five years. I would say it’s good to be back, but the weather had an unfortunate effect on the festival.. It wasn’t rained out. The rain was steady, but never harder than a good Scottish mist. But there was enough rain, combined with some cool breezes to cancel some events and move others (blessedly!) indoors.
The principal entertainer was Patrick Regan. Other folksingers performing were Jon Healey and Rickey Pittman. I was disappointed few of the vendors had musical tapes or CDs for sale. I know Arkansas is too far for Haggis Rampant or Uncle Hamish and the Hooligans to come, but it would have been nice if their tapes were there, even if they weren’t. (The picture above is Steve Brownlee, who wasn’t present, but is quite photogenic, if his wife will forgive me saying so.)
I will say the Ramada in Batesville had the nicest handicapped bathroom of any hotel room I’ve used since my stroke. I was able to take any actual soak-bath — my first bath since August! on Friday night and Sunday morning my husband and I showered together. Glorious!
After waiting a few years for a good Scottish meat pie, I was disappointed to find mediocre meat pies. The second worse I’ve ever had — most disappointing. Too much pepper. My husband and son said the Angus steakburgers were good. My daughter tried her first haggis and liked it.
I meant to spend time as a clan tent cavalier. Didn’t happen. Sorry, Clan Donald.
Lyon College has pink dogwood trees. Very pretty before the wind blew all the petals off
One of the vendors had superhero t-shirts I really liked: a Batman shirt with the bat silhouette filled in with Celtic knotwork. A red Wonder Woman shirt with a golden W filled in with Celtic knotwork. Three different Superman shirts with the S (the crest of the House of El) over the St. Andrew’s flag, over the Irish tricolor, and filled in with red Celtic knotwork.
We saw more dancing than usual. The Highland dancers are mostly juvenile. No one wanted kids to get sick. So they performed in Brown Chapel, where it was warm and dry. We watched them, more from a desire for comfort than appreciation of the Terpsichorean art.
We looked at the vendors’ wares. I made a shopping list and set a budget before we left home and stuck to it. One t-shirt, and a Celtic cross necklace. (I had hoped to replace my Boudicca t-shirt, but no one was selling that this year,) My husband and I compromised on a shirt to share, one that bragged of Scottish heritage. Had I been buying for myself alone I would have gotten the Wonder Woman shirt.
I had planned to watch the athletics and possibly interview one of the athletes as research for a story I’m writing called “Hot Cocoa and Shortbread.” I don’t know if the athletics were cancelled or not, but no one wanted to go looking for them in the rain. I’ll have to do my research on-line.
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