2008 Scottish Festival is almost here.

September 22nd, 2008

This years festival is the “Year of the Children”, with the focus on the children with special events for the children. Starting with the McPherson Arts Council Children’s Choir performing  Friday night at 7 p.m. at the band shell in Lakeside Park as a part of the clan fire ceremony; Kris Thompson, choir director: kthompson@cpi-ks.com, admission is free. Scottish balladeer Alex Beaton will also perform and tantalize the crowd.

“The Scottish youth games will be a miniature of what the big guys do but at a safer level. There will be a caber toss using carpet rolls. A sheaf toss, that they throw with their hands (no pitch forks for children). A stone throw, and last but not least, races: three legged and potato sack races. There will be a liability waiver for parents to sign in case of injury. It will also be for the children’s train. After the form is signed the children will get a red wristband. We will also have balloons for kids instead of the passport tent having them. All children will get a ribbon for participating in the games. I hope that it goes over well and that the children have fun and want to come again.”

We have a record number of clans registered this year, Kudos to all of you for helping promothe our festival. We also are going to have a Rugby match to my understanding as well as several other new events this year.

Clan Gordon “The House of Gordon”

October 1st, 2007

The following is a comment that was sent by the new representatives of Clan Gordon. They are new to their position and have presented their clan well. We appreciate their comments and consideration of others in their comments below.

Dennis,

On a more serious note, I just found out that Dick (Santa) Milne, who
used to sponsor the House of Gordon tent passed away on 15 September.
As you know he had serious health problems and I just got an email from
his wife with the news.  I just thought that you would like to know.
  He will be truly missed.

Mark

Dick Milne will be remembered by many for his courage and humor. He represented his clan with love and brought smiles to many faces. Those of you who knew him will miss him and we will carry his good name forward at the festival of one who gave to the children of Alba.

Until we meet again.

The Chairman

2007 McPherson Scottish Festival & Games

September 25th, 2007

Welcome everyone,

To all of you who attended the festival I want to thank you for making this years game one of the most successful so far. We hosted the World Masters Highland Games and the Masters National Strong Man competition. We also hosted 8 massed pipe bands which was a record for us. We had a record attendance at the gate and the Ceilidh had record attendance as well.

There were twenty-five registered clans this year of those four were new clans or clan representatives, Clan Gunn, Clan MaKintosh, Clan Gordon, Clan Crawford and Clan Boyd. Our faithful friends Barcley, Donald, Grant, Donnachaidh, McInnis, and MacFarlane held down the south end of the grounds standing off the raiders and enduring to the end. Well done my friends.

Clan MacLeod was the host clan with their honored guest John MacLeod “executive vice president” of clan MacLeod. Weedon Nichols and Tom MacLeod did an excellent job of hosting the clans. Sasha helped distribute gifts, a festival tea shirt, to two of the new clans, Clan Gunn and Clan Makintosh. Next year will give it to the newest and oldest clan representative or maybe the one from the furtherest away. What do you think? Let me know by replying to this blog.

Our new friends at Clan Makenzie and Clan Boyd are a great addition to our family Clan Boyd is new this year and Clan Makenzie has been here for the last to games. New clans are what keep us growing and we are glad that you have joined us and hope to see you again next year. Clan Gordon has been with us for several years, but Santa needed to retire and has sent great people as his replacement.

Clan MacLean and MacRae as well as MacCord and MacAlpine were sure and steadfast in their support. We are glad that they were able to join us at the Fire Ceremony and Clan Gathering on Friday night. There were between 125-150 people at the hog-gis roast following the ceremony.

Clan Elliot guarded the borders while Clan MacIntyre helped their father Gail recover from surgery. He still paid in advance even though he lay recovering in a hospital bed. We all wish Gail a speedy recovery.

If I understood things correctly Clan Henderson will be retiring to have their representation to be carried on by their son. I did not get a chance to wish them fairwell as we have been blessed having them join us each year. With that I bid them fairwell and wish them our blessings. Clan Farquharson joined us for the events on Friday and Saturday returning after missing last years games. Welcome Back, we are glad to see you again.

My friends at Clan Davidson as well as a couple of others let me know that there were some errors during the Noon Day Ceremony that need to be corrected. I am glad that they brought this to my attention so we can improve the experience for everyone at the festival. We try to do things right and fail sometimes, but that will not stop us from trying.

My good friends at Clan Little and the Clarks and their unwavering support has help make these games grow and prosper. I wish to thank them and Clan Barclay for their help in teaching me the ways of the Clans.

Rev. Robert Wolcott and I presented the offering from the Kirkin of the Tartan on Sunday morning to Clan Stewart as our Ambassador to the people of S.E. Kansas flood victims relief. The Stewarts have been strong supporters of the festival for many years. Thank You.

If any of you have any ideas about what we can do to improve your experience at the festival please post us a message and let us know this site is for you and is a tool for me to let everyone know about our festival.

The Chairman

Disasters — The Greensburg Tornado

September 3rd, 2007

How was it for the people of New York during 911 vs. the people of Greensburg, KS on the 14th of May, 2005 after the tornado ? Both events are unimaginable unless you were there and many that were may still be in disbelief. You might ask why is this on a Scottish blog? I was approached by a newspaper from Glasgow about whether there are any Scot’s that were living in Greensburg at the time of the tornado. I was impressed that people from so far would care to inquire of those who’s lives have been affected across the sea.

firemen911.jpgTornado Destruction

One thing is for sure things are not the same for any of use as they used to be. I pray that the rest of us do not have to endure these kinds of tragedies in our lives, but as sure as these two events happened there will be others some even more horrific than these. The positive side of any tragedy like these is mans resilience, his ability to overcome adversity and his compassion for those who have suffered.

In both cases families suffered great losses, whole communities, yea nations have felt the pain. In many ways these two events were the same and yet in others they are quite different. If you ask any individual who was there at either event I am sure they would not be able to imagine anything worse. However, the world changed a little forever in each case.

The greatest factor of difference during 911 is that it was a terrorist attack, something that was inflicted men against men. These types of confrontations foster distrust of one another and fear that someone may do harm to our society again. Greensburg was a natural disaster, leaving one with a sense of awe. The thing that sets Greensburg apart from other natural disasters is the totality of destruction. The community is gone, there is none left unaffected. In a disaster like 911 the community recovers, but with Greensburg there is nothing left to recover, all that once defined the community is now gone. Many of the survivors have left never to rebuild, and yet the whole world feels their pain. Just as in terrorist attacks we all know that we have a common thread with the rest of the world. News media from around the world reported on the Tornado just as if it had happened to them. Relief groups and governments are continuing to provide support to the people of Greensburg. The response of the public to the victims of 911 gave finical security to many of the victims families as it should, but I do not know of that kind of support for the victims of Greensburg that have lost everything. Katrina victims lost much when the hurricane launched its attack on the Gulf coast. Its destruction was wide spread and recovery is slow.

It is true that 3000+ died in the 911 disaster, where thankfully only 12 died and many others injured, but in Greensburg the whole community died. Twelve to fourteen hundred of 1400 people were killed injured or displaced. Consider what the effect would have been if all of New York City was destroyed. The impact on the world would have been much greater, but would it have been any worse for the victims and their families? It is sometimes hard for those of us that have been spared the pain and grief of such disasters to remember how blessed that we are.

I am impressed with the resilience of the Greensburg people to rebuild and the surrounding communities that are working around the clock to provide relief. We cannot forget those that have suffered these loses least we lose our own humanity, because I believe that it is this that makes us great. For if we cannot work together in times of crisis then we are surely lost, for hope in only ourselves is very hollow. May God help us to remember those who are in pain and suffering.

May we keep in good Scottish tradition and remember our fellow clansmen where ever they may be, and come to their aid in humility.

McPherson 2007 Scottish Festival and Games

August 30th, 2007

It is about that time of year again that we start to prepare for the big event. Every one is chasing about checking that all things will be in order. Combined efforts lead up to the the big day that everyone has waited for. The tents are up, last minute registrations are in, and soon all of the festivities will begin. The anticipation over the years has changed but never waned. It is a lot of work and about this time you think this is the last year that I’m going to do this.

Then it’s here, the Friday night Clan Gathering ceremony begins all of the preparations are done and begin to pay off. You begin to see old friends arrive bringing new stories from the previous year. You meet new people and all seem right with the world again. The sound of bagpipes in the distance call one to a distant home as the melodies are lifted in the air. The Kilt and Tartan color the field to announce each families presence another year.

The crowd gathers to the tales cast in lyric and song as the sun sets behind them to cast the warm glow of natures lighting of the show. A tail is told of an ancient fire that was tended and stoked by one through the year to warm the others during winters fury. The fires kindled they join in feast to devour the hog-gis beast. Old friends share their annual trials and blessing to welcome new friends that join us this day.

To me the festival is a large party where people of common heritage come together to share their history with the rest of the world and gain a connection with strangers that they would otherwise never have meet. Athletes come to compete in the traditional ways of the caber toss and the sheep throw. The Scottish dancers excite the imagination with their magical rhythm in their step and cadence. Vendors come to share the wares of ancient days and the aroma of Celtic foods fill the air.

The celebration last for days before the Closing Ceremony calls and end to the festival and games leaving friends old and new to say goodbye until next year. And with that in one great rush of wind it is gone left as it was days before with only the memories to carry us through the next year.

The McPherson Scottish festival has been a wonderful experience for me and I hope that it will continue to be. It does not happen though without the work of a lot of volunteers and participants that support our games. It gives me renewed faith in those who work relentlessly each year in order to make this festival possible.

Welcome

July 8th, 2007

We are still under construction so, we beg your patience while we get things going. Feel free to leave any comments that you might have. If we like them we may try one or two on for size.