Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Scottish Festival Promotes Clan Pride

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Scottish Festival Promotes Clan Pride

Article excerpt


Daily life in Scotland no longer includes bagpipes or caber tossing, but for many Scottish-Americans at the 15th annual Northeast Florida Scottish Games and Festival held in Clay County last weekend, donning the clan's kilt and dancing to "Scotland the Brave" connects them to their ancestors.

"There's a sense of kinship," Scottish-American Susan McCullough, of the Northside, said. "We're still wrapping ourselves in tartan and acting like it's 1745. We're reaching back to our heritage, even as Scottish-Americans."

The event was held Feb. 27 at the Clay County Agricultural Fairgrounds, west of Green Cove Springs. Despite rainy weather, an estimated 15,000 people attended the all-day event, which featured pipe and drum corps, kilts and tartans, highland dancing, competitions of skill and strength, Scottish animals, demonstrations ranging from falconry and fencing to bagpipe manufacturing,re-enactors, children's games, foods of all types and clan members from all over the world.

Bill Frazer of Knoxville, Tenn., is a member of Clan Fraser, the festival's honored clan this year. He said he has participated in Highland games and actively researched Scottish history since his first games in 1976.

"It fills you - not only the sense of history," he said, "but also living the history."

Over the course of that history, the family name changed. As different Frasers went to different countries, immigration officials would sometimes alter the spelling based on what they heard. As a result, there were at least six variations of the spelling of their last name, he said.

Frazer also has Welsh and Prussian ancestry. But the Scottish side of his family most appeals to him and his love of history, especially because that particular ethnic group has more recorded history to examine, he said.

William Reeves, 16, also a member of the Fraser clan, said his father has taught him about his heritage since he was 3. …

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