Kern County Scottish Society sponsors annual Celtic Festival

Whiskey Galore band members play Celtic music at the Celtic Festival.

Melissa Puryear, Reporter

Kern County Scottish Society, a non-profit organization, sponsored the 8th Annual Celtic Festival on Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Kern County Fairgrounds.

Six bands, Banshee in the Kitchen, The Ploughboys, Blackeyed Dempseys, Whiskey Galore, Whiskey and Stitches, and the Angry Brians, played international Celtic Rock to acoustic and more traditional music sounds, in a jam-packed kilt-wearing event.

Patrons danced from noon to late night at the 21 and over event. The entry fee cost $55 to $75, and included two free choices of beverage and its adult lawn gaming area, which featured Giant Jenga, Cornhole Boards and Lawn Washers.

According to Marty Brownfield, the event organizer, the goal of KCSS is to celebrate the traditions of Scottish society and to educate the community about its heritage and roots through things that are important to their identity.

For instance, Bangers, a popular Scottish choice is a giant sausage that is a very traditional food, as well as haggish, a Scottish Menudo or meatloaf, because it is made from the heart, lungs, kidney, and liver (the leftovers). “It is the last meal a starving family would eat,” Brownfield said, of the history of haggish dating back to Scotland.

Brownfield also described the beer that were served: New Castle, an English Ale, Figueroa Mountain Hoppy Poppy has more hops than traditional beer, Bonnie Lass Red Ale is a sweeter beer which pairs well with anything, and Founders Porter is a hearty darker beer.

Scotch tastings of Isley, a smoky scotch, whose flavors were derived from heating hops, which infuses the liquor and Highland scotch which has a lighter taste, were served at their respective bars. Whiskey was also served which is a popular liquor choice.

The tradition of wearing kilts or Tartans (patterned designs which represent family clans daring back to Scotland and which Americans would call plaid) historically consisted of 8 yards of material that the Scottish would wrap themselves in at night to keep warm. The next morning they would wake up and wear them as  a part of their everyday wear. Tartans were blessed by the priest for protection from harm. Kilt wearing at this event is paying tribute to the history of family identity and Celtic pride.

Lucy Thompson, one of the attendees, drove from Hanford to see Whiskey Galore, her favorite band. It was her second time at the Celtic event in Bakersfield.

KCSS hosts several events throughout the calendar year. Its next scheduled event the Kern County Scottish Games & Gathering will take place in the month of March.