Tuesday, September 04, 2012

If it's not Scottish, it's craaaaap

On Saturday morning, one of Scott's facebook buddies posted about the Virginia Scottish Games and the hubs proposed we take a looksee and let him get back in touch with, as he calls it, "the home country". I'd never been to a Highland Games event and was keen to see what the hoopla was about. With that, we headed down to The Plains, VA, for an afternoon of fun.

My first impression, as we hiked from our parking spot in BFE to the gate, was this event felt like Renaissance Faire meets a ball game. I could see tents with pennons flying in the distance and hear bagpipers plying their trade as we passed people tailgating in the parking area. Oookay. Plus, there were a lot of dogs. The volume of dogs seemed greater than the volume of children, actually. And then we passed through the gate into a little piece of Scotland with Virginia weather.

Kilts! Kilts everywhere! And pipers. Good ones, thankfully. Scott spied the antique and vintage automobiles on the hillside and we window shopped. He wanted Roger Moore's Volvo from "The Saint". I was perfectly happy to settle for the powder blue Austin Healey 3000.

My stomach decided that it was lunchtime -- because it was -- and I followed my nose to a vendor of meat pies. No, I did not try the haggis. Scott didn't eat the haggis, either. He said he wasn't hungry and that he'd eaten enough as a child. My beef meat pie was seriously delicious and I savored every last crumbly bit as we watched the professional division of the caber toss competition.

I had no idea it was a professional sport.
Apparently, the bout had been held up because the first caber broke. How embarrassing. Luckily, a stunt caber was located and the first competitor to the field threw a perfect 180 degree toss. The next closest competitor threw 80%. After the pros, the amateurs were let on the field. We left when a first timer nearly squashed the judge by losing control of the (much lighter) pole.

The next tent over was full of young girls participating in a dance competition. Scott says he can remember some of the steps but, out of respect to the girls, didn't dance along. When I could no longer stand baking in the sun, we moved on to the vendor area.

Oh, the luck we had there! I've been searching for the perfect red purse for AGES and, wouldn't you know it, I found it there. Perfect size, drop, color, shape, and price. I could've walked on air. We also found a pretty silver thistle brooch as a gift for Scott's mom. Scott's score of the day was a new kilt from The Kilted Nation. He has several Utilikilts -- and I was surprised that he didn't wear one to the event -- but none of them fit at the moment. Plus, I think his olive Utilikilt is too long. So now he's got a knee-length olive Kilted Nation utility kilt. And, uh, I have a khaki one. Scott said that I'd look good in a kilt and I didn't want to get the wrong tartan...

No kilt pictures. Have a fried Twinkie, instead.
We continued down to the race track for the sheep herding demonstration. The lady running the demo had three sheep and two border collies. Because the weather was so hot and humid, she didn't want to stress out the animals with a high energy demo but it was still an interesting watch. Every time she'd call off the dog with "that'll do", someone in the audience would coo, "That's just like the movie!" I wonder if that grates or pleases sheep herders.

As we made our way towards the exit, Scott ran across a couple of his historical martial arts buddies from the Virginia Academy of Fencing. We watched their demo for a bit and chatted a while. Scott was happy to play with some of their swords and show me the sword he wants next: a montante (I'm going on faith that this is the actual sword; work is blocking this site because its content categorization is "Weapons").

Our very last stop was at the Northern Virginia Sheltie Rescue tent so I could pick up a brochure. We've been thinking about getting a smallish dog and Shelties are high on my list of possibilities. With that, we bid Scotland adieu and hiked back into the real world.

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