Sunday, July 10, 2005

MN Scottish Festival

I didn’t get much time to write today because I was avoiding the house. Not because I was in trouble or anything, but because my wife was working on applying cleaning compound to the deck, and I didn’t want to feel guilty about not helping. So I took Eryn to the Mall of America, relaxed in the hammock, watched some videos, etc…whatever it took to ignore her exertion and pain. But the sound of the power washer kept overriding whatever we were doing, so it was obvious Pooteewheet was outside working and really suffering in the heat, and I didn’t need that sort of guilt trip laid at my feet, so I refrained from blogging just so she couldn’t accuse me of enjoying myself while she was in the 100 degree heat.

So, really what I wanted to blog about was Saturday and the Scottish Festival at the Dakota County Fairgrounds in Farmington. My friends Katie and Dan (and Connor) found us advance tickets, so even though it was approaching 100 and a 72 dew point, we were constrained to attend. Was it a good time? Except for the heat it was. Was it as exciting as Scottish Festivals in the past? Not really – there were about 1/3 the bands and there weren’t as many clans attending (noticeably, not my own, McLean – of which my family is a sept) – I heard someone noting that Farmington was just too far away for people from north of 694 – understandably so, particularly when it’s almost 100 degrees. Were the competitions exciting? Sure, if you could bear to stand in the heat to watch them. Was the marching band and parade of tartans fun? If you could bear to stand in the heat to watch them. What about the sheep dog show and children’s activities? Sure, if you stayed under a tent and out of the sun. How about the red faced, heat exhausted children? Were they fun? Not so much. Getting the picture?

Anyway, we did stay for a very long time – long enough for Eryn to get hot, tired, worn out, and nut-kicking angry when I picked her up at the end because I didn’t want to stand around in the heat in the middle of the road (that’s for Mean Mr. Mustard who thinks my daughter behaves most of the time…I’m pretty sure Emma doesn’t give him what for in the goolies – she didn’t do it on purpose, but it hurts nonetheless). So on to the pictures of the festivities…

This is the helldog who guards my back yard. It has nothing to do with the Scottish Festival. It’s just scary. And once again, on-and-off readers can appreciate how hard I have to work to kennel her with cinder blocks, wire, wood stakes, leashes, and wood reinforcement. I feel like I have a pit bull and live in a trailer home instead of a nice suburban abode.

This is actually from the Scottish Festival. It’s Eryn petting sheep. That face is her "eatin" face. She's thinking about how tasty that sheep will be when it ends up on some pita, with a side of yogurt, at Christo's in St. Paul after a saganaki (flaming cheese) appetizer.

Not too much later, these sheep were being herded by a sheep dog. Eryn petted the dogs as well, not noticing how nervous those sheep looked standing in the field (maybe it was the wool coats they were wearing – they might have been worried the dog was going to keep them in the middle of that field until they dehydrated).

There was the March of the Tartans. My favorite part is the clans who don’t actually have kilts, or dresses, or bagpipes, or anything even vaguely Scottish looking other than their heritage (usually furry and red if you’re a Scotsman). I tried to leave them out of the picture, they make me sad.

The March of the Tartans was followed by the mass band march. As noted previously, there weren’t nearly as many bands as in years past when you could have probably heard the Macalester grounds from Hamline if you were so inclined. However, the Minneapolis Police were there, which begs the question, why do you need, oh, twelve (?) uniformed police to guard the fairgrounds when there are 24-30 there without (police) uniforms on playing bagpipes, pipes and drums? Don't tell me! It's rhetorical!

This lute player was pretty funny. Pooteewheet and I have seen him somewhere before – we figure Half Time Rec, though we can’t be sure. But he was forced to play a lute in the wind next to several practicing bagpipe bands, with the Lakeville women’s tug o’ war team grunting in the background behind him, and the caber tossing (plus cheering) going on to his left, with an extremely touchy microphone – yet he still managed to be good natured, informative (did you know many lute songs don't actually have titles because at least one of the premier lute players felt he was above such things?), and loud enough to be heard. Eryn spent a considerable amount of time dancing under a tent to his stylings.

Speaking of the Lakeville Women’s Tug Of War team…this one’s for you Brad…just picture them all making out everytime they scored a win.

And speaking of Caber Tossing…this was my first attempt at a picture. Pretty sad, but I think it really captures the essence of caber tossing.

And a more successful second attempt (there were quite a few people watching - it seemed to be the most popular event of the whole fair. We watched a considerable number of people fail at flipping the pole end over end before someone succeeded [the most I've ever noticed failing before a success], and as soon as someone succeeded, most of the spectators wandered away - it was almost as though they breathed a collective sigh of relief that at least someone was going to manage to do it in all that heat).

Finally, some random pictures. A bunch of dressed up individuals near the Scottish Guard.

Eryn and Connor having some traditional Highland Scottish popcorn (I actually had some weird Welsh pancake-cookies that were extremely good, although as a Minnesotan, I had an urge to smear butter and pour maple syrup all over them). Does she LOOK hot? Does he LOOK like he's a little pink?

And…and this takes the cake…the “Baby Care” room. IT WAS ALMOST 100 G-DAMN DEGREES OUTSIDE!!! If baby care means cooking yourself and the baby to somewhere just shy of medium-well, then this was the room for you. I didn’t even take a leak the whole time I was there, after several sodas and some water, because I was sweating so much I couldn’t drink fast enough, and they wanted people with children to take those children into an enclosed room in the middle of the field without so much as a tree hanging overhead? There are probably a dozen people in the room already in this picture, they’re just crisped into little piles of salt and chemicals on the floor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I said the same thing to Dan when I saw that BabyCare hut as we were leaving. Who in their right mind would even go in there? Conner fell asleep on the way home from your place and we could NOT wake him up. So he was in bed by 7pm and out cold for 12 hours.