Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Going Scottish; More Than 21,000 Turn out for Northeast Florida Scottish Games and Festival at Clay County Fairgrounds

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Going Scottish; More Than 21,000 Turn out for Northeast Florida Scottish Games and Festival at Clay County Fairgrounds

Article excerpt

Byline: BETH REESE CRAVEY

Since the Northeast Florida Scottish Games and Festival featured countless men in kilts, let's get the obvious question out of the way first.

What do Scotsmen wear under those kilts?

"We wear freedom," said kilt-wearing Joe Starrett, with a wink.

The exception is a windy day, like the brisk Saturday of the 2007 games, when under-attire may be required to prevent embarrassment.

"That's why I don't wear freedom," said his kilt-wearing buddy, Jeff James.

The 12th annual games, held at the Clay County Fairgrounds near Green Cove Springs, attracted an estimated 21,250 visitors, a big jump from the estimated 12,000 to 15,000 people who attended the 2006 event, said Gordy Millar, a member of the games board of directors.

Organizers were thrilled that, after the past few years brought cold or rainy weather on festival day, the 2007 event was blessed with sun.

"We've finally been able to drop one of the aspects we've been able to feature," said Richard Gordon, president of the games, with a laugh. "We are in Florida for a reason."

Visitors were doused in all things Scottish - athletic competitions, bagpipes and drum corps, Highland dancing, clan tents, Scottish animal displays, children's games, re-enactors, genealogy exhibits, Highland cattle and all sorts of musical entertainers, among other things. T-shirts proclaming, "Real men wear kilts," and asking, "got pipes?" were for sale.

Also on hand were Scottish food and drink - including haggis, one of those beloved cultural dishes with ingredients probably better left unmentioned.

But we had to ask.

And Jack Litherland, 17, of St. Marys, Ga., who recently spent time backpacking in Scotland, had to answer.

"It's from the stomach of a sheep," he said, adding that the stomach was actually scraped to get all the goodies.

The Litherland family is big on Scottish games. …

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