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April 16, 2008 > Scotland visits Fremont

Scotland visits Fremont

By Justine Yan

"Scottish folk" - those who claim a familial bloodline from the fabled land and others who choose to share it for a day - will gather at Ardenwood Historic Farm on Saturday, April 19, from 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Local festivities are timed to enhance a national celebration of Scottish heritage and its contribution to the American character.

Congress recognized National Tartan Day, April 6, as a national holiday in 2005. Tartan Day is dedicated to the Scottish Americans who have contributed to the fields of science, art, politics, and more throughout United States history. In 1996, Newark became the first city in California to proclaim Tartan Day; Ardenwood hosted one of the first large scale celebrations in the Bay Area, the Tartan Day Scottish Fair in 1997.

"I don't think people really realize how much Scottish Americans have influenced this country," said Debbie Barnes, two-year chairperson of the Tartan Day Scottish Fair. "The living history area is always a big draw. People love looking at the weapons...what they can see and touch," noted Barnes. "A lot of people have seen movies like 'Brave Heart' and 'Rob Roy.'"

Five groups, or "guilds," representing ancient Scotland will set up hands-on historical reenactments, including a sword fight show by the "Highlander Warriors," a group based in the Niles district of Fremont. Barnes belongs to this group, which practices weekly at the Vallejo Mills Park in Fremont.

Visitors with Scottish roots may search for clues to their family history. The "clans" of Gregor, Blair, MacFarlane, Henderson, Cunningham, MacLean, Cian, and Crawford will set up booths where people can be familiarized with the legacies of several family names that originated in Scotland.

Irrespective of Scottish heritage, all who attend Tartan Day festivities will enjoy the atmosphere of this event. Music from Scottish folksinger Peter Daldry, fiddlers, harpists, and the Fremont Police Department Pipe Band will be on hand as aromas of authentic Scottish food waft through the air. Highland and Scottish Country dancing will be performed; jewelry vendors and local artists will showcase their artwork in booths set up near the main stage.

The Children's Glen offers activities such as fairy storytelling, Highland games, a traditional haggis toss, and craft making.

"This is a kind of starter for the season," said Burnes, "We're hoping that this will be a good taste to get people interested in the events coming up." Ardenwood's Scottish Festival precedes the two-day Livermore Scottish Games, a festival in Oakland, and the biggest Scottish Games in the United States, held in Pleasanton on Labor Day weekend.

Admission includes a tour of Patterson house. The Ardenwood Forge will also be open.

Tartan Day Scottish Fair
Saturday, Apr. 19
10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(510) 796-0199

Adults: $10
Seniors: $6
Child (4-17): $5
3 & Under: Free

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