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March 29, 2011 > A bonny sun shines brightly on Tartan Day

A bonny sun shines brightly on Tartan Day

By William Marshak

For a day, a portion of Ardenwood Farm will disappear into the mists of time and reappear in Scotland where a traditional ballad evokes memories of proud and independent clans led by Bonnie Prince Charles. Whether traveling by the high road or low road, on this day, all will end up on the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond. Those who dare to visit and mingle with clans from far and wide will be immersed in the antics and lore of fierce and stalwart inhabitants. Their descendents have infused the United States with their exceptional loyalty and cultural influence. The tapestry of U.S. history is woven with threads of Scotland.

Tartan Day, a family gathering, presented by the Tri-Cities Scottish Association of California, will bring feisty and strong-willed Scots together as they peaceably demonstrate their proud heritage and prowess in martial arts, dance and music. The soul of Scotland - its sights and sounds - evokes elemental stirrings in everyone as the sound of bagpipes and drums announce the gathering of clans on Saturday, April 2 at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont.

April 6th is National Tartan Day, a celebration of Scottish American heritage who have wielded enormous influence on the arts, science, politics and law. Many of the United States founding fathers and presidents who followed were of Scottish descent. In 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.

TSAC became the East Bay Scottish Association (EBSA) in 2005 to acknowledge its membership's expanding geographic scope. Anyone interested in Scottish music, history, dance, food, language, or art is invited to be a part of this dynamic organization. EBSA members with common ancestry may choose to be part of "clan associations."

The western chapter of Clan Gregor is local to Fremont and has participated at the Ardenwood celebration for many years. The "Scottish Faire" is the clan's first gathering of the season. 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 are expected to participate at Tartan Day. "This is a family friendly event in a beautiful park setting," said EBSA President, Richard Brown. 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."

As the aroma of Scottish food and the skirl of bagpipes fill the air, visitors can browse through wares of craft and jewelry vendors, listen to folk singers, fiddlers and harpists and hear the history of colorful tartans while marveling at birds of prey. A "Children's Glen" will feature games, arts and crafts and storytelling. Clan encampments at the faire usually exist in peaceful coexistence, but at times, erupt into clashing swords and battle cries of duels so beware of loud boisterous warriors who challenge each other. This year Clan Bell International, Clan Blair, Clan Cian, Clan Donald, Clan Forbes, Clan Graham, Clan Gregor, Kennedy Society of North America, Clan Lamont and Clan MacLeod will be attending.

The kaleidoscope of sights and sounds of the Tartan Day Scottish Faire will transform everyone into a Scot for the day, so head out to the farm on April 2nd and bask in all things Scottish.

Tartan Day Scottish Faire
Saturday, April 2
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(510) 544-2797

Adults: $8
Seniors (62 years and over): $6
Ages 4 to 17: $5
Age 3 and under: free

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