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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 4, 2003

Have yourself a wee taste of the Highlands

By Chris Oliver
Advertiser Staff Writer

"Pucker power" — lip stamina — is said to drive the soaring, chicken-skin harmonies of bagpipe bands.

The Highland Games, a competition of Scottish athletics, is expected to draw about 20 participants this year.

Scottish Festival

9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Kapi'olani Park (bandstand area)



Highland dancing has been called the original aerobics — energetic, exacting and guaranteed to bring about a wee thirst.

Ditto bagpipe-playing and the massive exertion of the Highland Games with its cabers (those long poles for tossing), hammers and stones.

If you plan to get involved, best to eat your porridge — another hearty Scottish activity — in preparation for this weekend's Scottish Festival at Kapi'olani Park. Traditional foods, Scottish athletics, pipe bands, Celtic crafters, historical displays, genealogy and clan chat will draw Scots from around the state and the Mainland.

"We'll have around 20 athletes for the events," said athletics director Eric Wechter (who is of the Gordon clan), "and this year we're introducing the 'kilted mile' track event for our less-heavy competitors." Entry is open to all kilt wearers.

Wechter also is delighted that discus thrower Shannon Hartnett, of California, a nine-time world winner of Scottish athletics, will be at the festival. Before the ladies had their own events, Hartnett competed against men, Wechter said.

The Celtic Pipes and Drums of Hawai'i will perform around noon on both days and at other times. "Playing bagpipes takes lip stamina; pucker power is what we aim for," said pipe major Dan Quinn, who will lead the 25-member band on parade. "Playing (and hearing) the pipes and drums is great therapy for us all."

Music will come also from the Hawaiian Thistle Pipe Band and from the popular Celtic band Molly's Revenge. The latter band, which is from the Bay Area, also will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa Campus Center Ballroom.

"The best part is the festival promotes Scottish culture here in Hawai'i," said vice chieftain Dan Peddie (of the Ross clan), who with his wife organizes facilities for the festival, as well as the refreshments and the general running of the weekend.

Peddie, who is half Scottish and half Italian, grew up in New York City with heavy emphasis on the Italian side ... pasta and pizza rather than stovies (a potato and meat dish) and Scottish eggs. It wasn't until the 1980s, when he began attending Hawai'i's Scottish Festivals (then called the Highland Games), that he began researching his ancestry on his father's side.

The festival celebrates National Tartan Day, established by the U.S. Senate in 1998 to recognize contributions by people with a Scottish connection to the United States. Sandy Mckeen (Donald clan), who will read Senate Resolution 155 at the festival, says he is "philosophically and ancestrally attached to all things Scottish." McKeen will also assist with the Kirkin' (blessing) of the Tartans at the park on Sunday morning.

Sponsors of the event include the St. Andrew Society, the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, the Celtic Pipes and Drums of Hawaii, the Hawaiian Thistle Pipe Band and the Caledonian Society of Hawai'i.