We were in luck for this year’s Indianapolis Scottish Highland Games and Festival — it was warm and sunny, and not the typical fall weather you get in the middle of October.
The beer and Irn Bru were flowing, the fish and chips were spattering, and large men in kilts were hurling heavy objects over bars or across fields. Cabers were tossed, hammers were thrown, and balls were heaved. Anyone who ever wants to make fun of a guy in a kilt needs to first watch that guy throw a 175 pound, 19’6″ tree, and then you can say the funny thing about kilts.
I took my two youngest kids to this year’s Scottish Highland Games — last year, it was all five of us — and I figured we could try a couple new things. So this year, when we stood in line for the traditional Scottish food for 20 minutes — it was the most popular food at the festival this year — I decided we were going to try haggis.
My kids new what it was, because I’ve told them about it a few times, especially when I told them how I tricked a friend into trying it. They said they would have tried it and wouldn’t have been sissies about it. So I thought I’d have them put their chopped liver where their mouth is, and we ordered haggis and chips (fries). Despite their initial hesitation, the kids did actually enjoy it, which it was a problem for me, since I was hoping I didn’t have to share.
We stopped by the music stage and had a chance to see the raw energy of festival band, Pictus, a power trio with two drummers and a bagpiper.
As any fan (or hater) of the bagpipes know, they were used in battle to frighten enemy soldiers with their screeching wail. After watching a band like Pictus, I can see how having a platoon of these crazy bastards swarming over a hill at you could make an enemy soldier a little weak in the knees.
After Pictus, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard read a declaration for the Festival, as well as get his photo taken with King James V, and perform with some of the kids in attendance. He even stopped for a quick second to take a photo with my own kids.
And of course, you can’t top a day filled with ground sheep’s liver, heart, and kidneys without Scottish shortbread, which is made with flour, sugar, and a whoooole lot of butter. I’ve always liked Scottish shortbread, and this batch, which was made by Rick Blackridge (he and his partner are volunteers of the Indy Scottish Festival committee) was outstanding.
I had hoped to have a kilt to wear to this year’s celebration, but wasn’t able to make that happen. Maybe next year, I can get my hands on a kilt, so I can parade around in it, much to the consternation of my wife and kids.
I can’t wait.
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