Great Scots!

Annual festival honors celtic heritage, culture

Annual festival honors celtic heritage, culture

May 12, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

There's something magical about the mists.

According to professional storyteller Andrew Steed, the unpredictable weather in Scotland and other Celtic countries provides a mystical background for his tales of the English takeover of Scotland.

So the rainy weather Saturday didn't cast a pall over Steed's participation in the fourth annual Frederick Celtic Festival.

Steed said the takeover of the Scottish in 1746 was similar to what happened to the Native Americans.

"It was ethnic cleansing. I think that's why a lot of the Scottish connected with people in this country," Steed said in his native British accent.

Steed, who lives in Dover, Pa., leads pilgrimages back to the homeland.

Hundreds of others didn't let the rain and mud deter them from soaking up a little Celtic culture on the grounds of a Frederick County landmark to celebrate Celtic culture.


Organizers set up tents outside the Beatty-Cramer Architectural Museum northeast of Frederick. The museum is housed in the oldest known building in Frederick County, which was constructed between 1732 and 1742 for Scottish immigrant Susannah Beatty.

One of the best ways to get to know a culture is through its food.

Highland Catering of Frederick provided Celtic flavors such as lamb sausage, meat pies and haggis.

Traditionally, haggis is an Irish dish of meat and oats cooked in a sheep's stomach, said owner Randy Bartlett. Note to the queasy: Health department regulations prevent Bartlett from using digestive system parts in his recipe.

Bartlett also served a dish called colcannon based on a recipe his great-grandmother used to make. She made the Halloween dish with mashed potatoes, herbs and spices and kale. Bartlett substitutes cabbage for kale because he likes it better.

The festival also featured vendors selling Celtic-themed art and other treasures and Celtic music including, of course, bagpipes.

"I love to hear the pipes," said Debbie Perez, 50, of Poolesville, Md.

Jerry Vandenberg of Herndon, Va., gave a sword demonstration.

"Do you need a castle stormed or a village burned? Some livestock relocated?" Vandenberg barked from his tent. "We do guarantee our services or your beheading is free."

Vandenberg, 51, said he got into the hobby after doing some swordplay for a community theater performance of "MacBeth."

Susan Battistone, 47, of Baltimore, said she came to get a look at the kilts.

"There's nothing sexier than a man in a kilt," she said.

Festival visitors' cars lined both sides of Md. 26 after the rain slowed in the afternoon. Although there was plenty of parking for the festival on the museum grounds, few could get to it because of the mud bog at the entrance.

A couple of vehicles temporarily got stuck.

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