How to choose a Highland Games.
Rummaging online, I stumble upon Scottish shenanigans in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and am intrigued. Obviously, Kalamazoo is appealing because it has an amusing name. I have not learned from my risky trip to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, or the tedious excursion to Boring, Oregon. The website increases my excitement when I read, “Hark, the pies are calling!” My excitement is short-lived, however. I read the page again and realize that it is “pipes” that are calling, not “pies” as I had hoped. I am disappointed. I personally react better to the call of pies. Still, the event has potential, I muse to myself. After all, the site does also inform me that Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds offers not only “great facilities”, but “protection from Mother McNature” as well. That’s always a winning combination.
Colorado Scottish Festival and Rocky Mountain Highland Games offers “a Bit of Brigadoon in your Own Back Yard.” Tempting. Liberty, New Jersey is the home of Bonnie Brae Scottish Festival, which is enticing because it offers the fascinating option of a Highland games in a residential treatment centre for troubled adolescent boys. Perhaps they hold the restorative powers of the bagpipe in higher esteem than I do. Delving deeper, I read of Wakeeney, Kansas’ Gatherin’ Fire Festival of Beltane. Of Northampton, Massachusetts’ Glasgowlands. Of Fischer, Texas’ Days of the Scots. Of a hundred more Scottish festivals scattered across Canada and the U.S. It seems that when you look for a bit o’ Brigadoon, you find it and then some. I am amazed and somewhat humbled by this profusion of celebrations of Scottishness.
A few erratic mouse scurries later, I find what I’m looking for, smirk with delight, and snap up a flight to Tennessee. It’s the prospect of both a Dourest Scot tournament and a Bonniest Knees competition that makes a trip to Clanjamfry, Memphis’ Scottish festival, irresistible. I am sure to learn many secrets about both the Scottish psyche and ideals of beauty. Plus I read somewhere that it’s customary for the woman who wins the Haggis Hurl to blind judge the Bonniest Knees. This sounds like a surefire recipe for hilarity. Or for disaster. Whichever. I’m in.