This past Sunday, Janet and I managed to attend the annual Highland Games and Clan Gathering held at the Enumclaw Expo Center. This site use to be called the King County Fairgrounds, but sometime over the past decade, since I last attended the games, the name was changed.
Whether you call it the Fairgrounds or Expo Center, this place was the perfect setting for a Highland-themed event. The foothills surrounding Enumclaw, along with the morning marine layer did wonders to evoking impressions of far-away Scotland.
Especially with rock formations like this...
In addition to pipers, there were other performers ranging folk bands...
Here, the fiddler and flutist work the crowd...
Just about every group played Scotland the Brave and Loch Lomond as part of their repertoire. No one got tired of hearing these stirring tunes.
As any military historian and wargamer will tell you, is that Scotland is most noted for its renown Highlander (and even Lowlander) Regiments. But wherever in America, or The Commonwealth Scots emigrated to, they often raised highlander regiments. At last weekend's games, there were some re-enactors from the 79th New York Highlanders.
Even though the 79th has long-since been disbanded, martial ties between America and Scotland remain. There's the Scottish-American Military Society open to anyone who honorably served in American military, or the UK's Commonwealth Forces. Apparently, being of actual Scottish descent is not a requirement.
While we didn't stay for the grand finale, watching the individual bagpipe bands perform was as impressive as it was moving.
One of my friends jokingly asked me on Facebook whether I wore a kilt while attending the games. I would actually consider it, but most tartans have a distinct lineage and I'd only choose one that I could truly identify with.
And no, I'm not into utility kilts which seem to be popular here in the Pacific Northwest.
While I didn't walk away with a utility kilt, we spent most of our time browsing among the vendor stands. Janet became excited by a bodhran with a Claddagh symbol on the skin.
In addition to the bodhran, we bought several other mementos of our outing. One of them is a print of both our German family crests we got from one of the genealogy booths scattered throughout the fairgrounds. We discovered our German ancestors were from the same region of Bavaria.
This probably explains the "girl-next-door" feeling I get everytime I'm around Janet.
We look forward to attending future Highland Games and Clan Gatherings.