[ back ]
Tartan Day honors Reynoldsburg’s Scottish roots
Scottish roots grow deep in the city of Reynoldsburg, and Tartan Day is one way people from all over central Ohio celebrate the traditions of their homeland.
“I don’t know how many people know that Reynoldsburg was founded by several Scottish families,” explained Margaret McCullough, chairwoman of the Central Ohio Tartan Day Committee.
Most people know about Scottish settler Alexander W. Livingston, who was a horticulturist and developer of the commercial tomato, she pointed out. He and several other families established Truro Township, named to commemorate the city of Truro in Nova Scotia. Among the other founding families were Taylor, Armstrong, Crawford, Palmer, Graham, Ross, Johnson and Reynolds.
“There are not that many of them left,” McCullough said. “In the past years we have found representatives of their families to honor, but it seems like every year there are fewer of them here in central Ohio.”
This is the 12th year for Reynoldsburg’s Tartan Day celebration, which honors an important day in the history of all free people, she said. On April 6, 1320, a group of Scots asserted in the Declaration of Arbroath that the people had the right to choose their own government. The declaration states, “We fight not for glory, nor riches, not honors – but for freedom alone, which no man gives up but with his life.”
McCullough added, “These daring words were the inspiration and template for our Declaration of Independence. A number of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were Scottish.”
In 2001, April 6 was designated as Tartan Day in the state of Ohio, and the event is held as close to that date as possible. This year’s Tartan Day celebration will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 9 at the Reynoldsburg Senior Center, 1520 Davidson Drive. The event is sponsored by the Mid-Ohio Scottish Heritage Association and the Daughters of Scotland, and admission is free.
Among the day’s events will be musical performances by the Capital City Pipes and Drums, the Cyril Scott Pipe Band, the Mad Maudlin Band, and Steve Schack on Celtic harp. There will be dancing by the Columbus Scottish Highland Dancers and the Heather ‘n Thistle Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.
“Scottish country dancing is one of the early square dancing activities,” McCullough said. “The Highland dancers are what most people are familiar with. It is kind of like Irish step dancing, but the dancers can move their arms.”
All day long there will be athletic competitions such as the caber toss, she said. The caber toss is a traditional Scottish athletic event involving the tossing of a large wooden pole, similar to a telephone or power pole. It is said to have developed from the need to toss logs across narrow chasms to cross them.
There also will be a sheep herding demonstration featuring border collies, as well as a variety of children’s games.
Throughout the day there will be a variety of Scottish foods available for sale, including sausage rolls, shortbread pieces, and fern cakes. In addition, this is the first year organizers will offer haggis, a traditional Scottish dish containing sheep heart, liver and lungs minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt and simmered in the animal’s stomach.
“We haven’t had it available before,” McCullough said, noting they have to order it from a supplier in Michigan. “Because of USDA requirements, most of what we will have here is ground liver and lamb pieces. It tastes like beefy oatmeal.
“If you go to Scotland, it is served breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is tradition – you have to have haggis.”
Several hundred people are expected to attend the event, and McCullough said Tartan Day grows a little each year. Eventually she would like to see Reynoldsburg’s Tartan Day celebration become as well known in central Ohio as the Tomato Festival.
McCullough encouraged all to come out for the day’s events, “To experience different activities they may never have been exposed to before.”
Everybody stands to learn something from the experience, she said.
“You don’t have to be Scottish to appreciate the activities,” she said.
Tartan Day schedule
11 a.m. – Opening by Margaret McCullough
11:10 a.m. - Welcome from Mayor Brad McCloud
11:15 a.m. - Cyril Scott Pipe Band featuring Pipe Major Glenn Mackie
11:45 a.m. - Steve Schack performs Celtic harp
12:15 p.m. - Melanie Pratt conducts story telling
12:45 p.m. - Mad Maudlin featuring Glenn Mackie
1:15 p.m. - Dog herding demonstration by Jared Martindale
1:45 p.m.- Children’s games organized by Bonne McGowan, Karen McGowan and Sharon Souder
2:15 p.m. - Columbus Scottish Highland Dancers led by Instructor Beth Risley
2:45 p.m.- Boudica portrayed by Kay Hess
3:15 p.m. - Heather ‘n Thistle Royal Scottish Country Dance Society dancers led by Jim and Donna Ferguson
3:30 p.m. - Dog herding demonstration by Jared Martindale
3:45 p.m. - Capital City Pipes and Drums led by Pipe Major Brian Batty
4:15 p.m. - Awards for athletic competition presented by Brian Huntley
4:20 p.m. - Steve Schack performs Celtic harp
4:30 p.m. - Dana Russell demonstrates weaponry
4:45 p.m. - Group dancing led by Heather ‘n Thistle Royal Scottish Country Dance Society dancers
5 p.m. - Auld Lang Syne is sung, with all joining in
* Note: Athletic competition will occur all day at the ball diamond past the senior center.
[ back ]