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Texas Scottish Festival - moved to May

Stilly River Sage 12 Jun 11 - 11:45 PM
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Subject: Texas Scottish Festival - moved to May
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 Jun 11 - 11:45 PM

Up until this year (though I completely missed it this time) the Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games has been held in early June on the UT Arlington campus. It's usually hot as blazes out there, or sometimes, is a steamy quagmire after rains, and then the heat.

Beginning next year they will shift the festival to the first week of May. "Kilt by the heat" appeared in the campus newspaper this week. Not sure how durable that link is, so here is the story:

The Celtic music of composer Brian McNeill echoed through Maverick Stadium on Sunday as the annual three-day Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games said goodbye to its final summer.

The festival, which has been an Arlington staple for 25 years, has been known to attract more than 20,000 visitors a year.

During the past couple of years, however, festival executive director Ray McDonald said there has been a decline in attendance. Organizers didn't have this year's numbers as of press time.

McDonald said the heat is a major reason.

This summer the temperature hit the high 90s and event volunteer Isabel Johnston said she saw one of the slowest turnouts in years.

Johnson, who has been volunteering at the festival since its beginning, said the event will change its dates next year.

Beginning in 2012, the festival will take place the first week of May.

"We do hope to have more interaction with the university since school will be in session," McDonald said via email. "Perhaps some very good projects for various classes."

Johnson said this year has been one of the slowest.

"It is important that we keep the festival going," she said. "We come every year to keep up with our heritage and to pass it on to our children."

Johnson's lifelong best friends Gene Siegel and Divina Robertson said the music and dancing were the most memorable to them.

"Our children used to dance at the festival before they grew up," Siegel said. "They've moved on to different states, so we watch the new generation of children dance."

Dallas-Fort Worth local Celtic band, Seamus Stout, managed to wake the overheated crowds during their set at the festival. Between their catchy melodies about pre-fab pubs and encouraging the young ladies to dance a jig, a lively dance with leaping movements, guests almost forgot about the heat.

"When the music starts, I forget about the heat," Bedford resident Molly Paton said. "Then the music stops and I am miserable."

Paton said she and her husband have been attending the festival for six years and would not let the Texas heat keep them from attending.

"The heat doesn't keep us from showing up every year," she said. "But this year we have not left the live music tents."

Paton said it was too hot to enjoy anything else.

Linda McKenzie and her family drive from Washington to attend the festival every year, and for the first time, she said she didn't enjoy her favorite part of the festival, the food.

"It was just too hot to eat a Scottish sausage," she said.

McKenzie said she had her favorite dessert, a Scottish scone topped with strawberries and whipped cream.

Linda Waddell, House of Douglas bakery owner, has been bringing her Scottish treats to the festival for 18 years, and McKenzie said she never leaves without visiting Waddell's booth.

"It is tradition," McKenzie said. "This event and the culture is important to my children. It keeps them interested in who they are."

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