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Scottish festival incorporates community

Jacob Hyatt | The Feather Online

Clansmen reveals traditional chainmail creation through live demonstration, Sept. 15.

The Fresno Scottish Highland gathering and games celebrated Scottish life and culture for the 41st annual year, Sept. 15. The festival offered live music, various clan booths, ethnic food, blacksmithing, shows of strength and live medieval fighting. The festival sprawled across Kearney Park offering many events for attendees to participate in throughout one day.

Started by the The Scottish Society of Central California, The Scottish Highland Games began as a way to bring awareness to the history and origins of Scottish clans and the people apart of them.

Their mission statement states, “The Society’s mission is to create, stimulate, and sustain an interest in Scotland; to educate the public about Scottish heritage; to provide educational and entertaining events that share and promote Scottish culture”

The main facet of the festival was Clan Row. Almost 30 different clans, shops and activities lined the walkway, sporting different tartan, food and pictures aiming to encompass what their clan does.

David G. Campbell, a member of the Clan Campbell society of North America, goes around to various festivals in order to teach and inform Clan Campbell members about their heritage. Campbell explains why he believes this is worth his time.

“What we do here is teach any Campbell that comes in about their heritage and about any of the various castles,” Campbell said. “From the first castle to the current castle at  Inveraray where our chieftain lives today. We teach about the various tartans they could wear and stories about the past what the Campbells have done that we have shared for generations and centuries.”

Keith Cochrane, acts as high commissioner to the Earl in all of North America representing Ian Alexander Douglas Blair Cochrane the 15th Earl of Dundonald. Keith travels across the country informing members of the Cochrane family of their history and notable figures.  

“A lot of people are getting enthused about their history and lineage in America; our earls in Scotland don’t even have this because it is everyday to them.” Cochrane said. “They are starting programs now over there to get what we have here going there. The games are fun to watch because you find out how all of the techniques and what they do are in their modern day living and farming as weapons because they weren’t allowed to use weapons.”

Jacob Hyatt | The Feather Online

Sophomore Jacob Hyatt interviews Keith Cochrane, member of the Cochrane clan, about Cochrane history, Sept. 15.

The festival sported live action fighting from the Company of the Gauntlet and Rose. The company founder, Mark Jackson, shares why he enjoys fighting and how he began.

“I was that little boy that never put the sticks down,” Jackson said. “so when I went to a renaissance fair and saw the fighting I really got into it. When I joined the military I lost track of it because of all the work I did in the military. But, when I came back to the renaissance fair and got into this again I couldn’t stop.”

The The Scottish Society of Central California plans their next Highland Games for the fall of 2019.

For more cultural events in Fresno, check out the Armenian Festival, Sept. 30.

For more articles read 58th annual Greek Fest raises funds for church and William Saroyan House Museum honors Fresno’s most influential author.

Jacob Hyatt can be reached via twitter @thejacobhyatt and via email.

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