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March 29, 2005 > Tartan Day at Ardenwood

Tartan Day at Ardenwood

by Ceri Hitchcock-Hodgson

Entering the gates at Ardenwood Park on April 2, you will leave behind the noise and hustle of modern day life and be transported to a time and place of steep tradition - the 9th Anniversary Tartan Day Gathering.

Conceptualized right here in the Tri-Cities area, Tartan Day was created to recognize the contributions of the Scottish to American society. The Tri-Cities Scottish Association of California (TSAC) was organized in 1993. In 1994, a former TSAC member read about Tartan Day being celebrated in most Canadian provinces to celebrate the Scottish people. Tartan Day became the main focus for the TSAC and by 1996 they, along with executive officer of the Clan Gunn Society of North America and his clan commissioners across the United States, succeeded in the first declaration of Tartan Day on April 6, 1996 in North Carolina and on March 9, 2004, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 41 recognizing National Tartan Day.

Today, lads and lassies of any nationality enjoy Tartan Day across the country. One of the largest Tartan Day events is right here, where the concept was created. TSAC held the first-large scale Tartan Day in 1997 at Ardenwood Historical Farm in Fremont and the festival continues to get grow every year.

Saturday, April 2, will be the 9th Anniversary of TSAC's Tartan Day Family Gathering at Ardenwood. The festivities kick-off at 10 a.m. with the traditional sounds of the Scottish Highlands, bagpipes and drums. Performers of this time-honored music will include the MacIntosh, White Cockade and Piedmont pipes and drums groups. The melodies will carry throughout the day with the sounds of fiddler Colin Gordon, a harpist and the traditional Celtic sounds of Blacklyst and singer Peter Daldry.

The lively entertainment will also include the dance of the Royal Scottish Country Dancers and the Highland County Dancers. Their gracefulness will be a contrast to the clashing swords and battle cries of the dueling Highland Warriors. "Sword theatre" as it is sometimes known is a popular, and exciting, event at Scottish gatherings.

The wee ones can play a number of games and have their faces painted in customary Scottish colors and designs. Scottish clans will gather and the importance of the tartan to the Scottish people will be explained. Historic re-enactments of Mary Queen of Scots and her Court will also take place. Scottish food and vendors will round out the day.

This day of amusement will be held at Ardenwood Historic Farm, 34600 Ardenwood Blvd. in Fremont, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 2. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $5 for children. For information, call (510) 796-0663.

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