Posted by: Blue Lou Logan | July 17, 2012

Kilt up! Skagit Valley Highland Games 2012

Saturday, there was a company picnic.  The organizers were excited, but not many others.  Instead, Zanne and I learned that one of her best friends of all time, the piper E.J. Jones, for whom a good deal of credit must go for my meeting Zanne at Gig Harbor Faire, was playing with the internationally known Texas Celtic band Clandestine at the Skagit Valley Highland Games.  So…coworker potluck or Scottish festival?  Duh…
Logan’s beard is great and fearsome.  (Pic by Bev)

We borrowed Uncle Bill’s car and left Seattle about 6:15 in the morning.  Supplied with McDonald’s sausage biscuits, we headed north in misty morning weather.  We were the second car in regular parking.  Blades of wet grass stuck to our sandal-clad feet.  We were so early that the vendors were still setting up, and the only thing open was Celtic Coffee.  Bev, Zanne, and I got a table in the beer garden before it was the beer garden and played Quiddler as the sound guy tested the PA with Tannahill Weavers.  I was the first to spot E.J., who was on site early to drop off his band mate to judge a fiddling competition.  He stayed with us the whole morning.  We were under the tent and chatting about beer and balancing touring and pipe making as a downpour hit and passed.  We wandered the vendors, E.J. looking at bagpipe supplies, me wishing for a dirk.  Zanne helped E.J. pick out socks.  Then Bev and I headed out, just the two of us, to watch the games and the opening ceremony of pipers and clans.  Zanne and E.J., meanwhile, had what was later called their “best conversation ever.”

Men in kilts throw 56-pound stones.  Look over the right Port-a-Potty. (Click above for larger pic.)
Let the Festival begin.

When I get home, I still hear pipe bands in my head for hours, if not days.
Dan’s clan

Zanne’s clan.  Logan never represents.
The clouds went.  The heat came.  E.J. went to play.  We got lunch:  I got the Scottish meat pie, essentially haggis in a crust, minus the stomach.  The beer garden had become the beer garden, which meant that Zanne and I could fill our tankards with Skagit River Scottish Ale while Bev had to sit just on the other side of the age fence.  Then there was one of those moments when I paused and realized I was in a perfect spot.  I had my wife, my daughter, a fresh pint, Celtic music, sun, and a peer group of kilted, often bearded men, women frequently with red hair, tartan skirts, or both, and large, friendly dogs.

E.J. Jones
The color of our shirts is awesome!

No, the color of our shirts is awesome!
Then we all overheated.  I spotted E.J., but he was with other cohorts and we were on our way to the exit.  Yet leaving meant passing the dancing stage.  Zanne had to; for years Zanne led and choreographed Step We Ceilidh, the top Scottish dance troupe in Houston at the time and really a top group for all of Texas.  Zanne pulled her chair out and carefully watched Tam O’ Shanter from B.C. and Bonnie Dundee from Seattle.  She commented that old dancers did not negate good choreography.  After the second group finished, they called for audience participation.  Zanne has been trying to get me to do Scottish country dancing since we met.  Now I’m moving to something about “ice cream.”  The rhythm and the progressions came pretty naturally.  Zanne was pleased.  I was surprised but not.  If there was one kind of music that was going to make me move (other than funk/drum’n’bass), this would be it; the word ‘kinship’ fits.  Unfortunately, during the second tune, the caller proved her inability, calling the wrong moves and not keeping any sense of rhythm.  Plus, I was now feeling the difference between staying happy on ale and staying hydrated on water.
Seattle’s Bonnie Dundee Dancers

They’re having fun.
We were done.  We retreated to the air conditioning of Bill’s car.  The iPod rolled, the passengers fell asleep, and I fought traffic from Lynnwood through downtown.  Complaints?  None.  A fabulous day.  Beat an ill-planned, poorly attended, under-supplied work gathering, that’s for sure.


  1. Very interesting and enjoyable. I observe that all people there are enjoying so much with their kilts. Their uniformity was very great in the eyes. A platoon with nice kilts. Thumbs up!

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