On the first full weekend of June every year the Bellingham Highland Games Association holds it's annual Scottish Highland Games at Hovander Homestead Park in beautiful Ferndale Washington.
With a free Friday Night Ceiligh (Kay-lee) featuring the Blessing of the Games and the Ale where we tap our Firkin for the first time (see below on firkin), live music, and Scottish Idol over by the Ale Garden we get it started early. The night begins around 6pm and continues until close with the famous Flaming Saltaire!
Robert Burns born January, 25 1759 and is considered Scotland's favourite son. A poet and musician Burns is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. So much so Burns is the only person to be featured on Coca-Cola bottles or cans. Every year around January 25 Scottish Societies pause to honor Ol' Robbie with a dinner. For us, it is a semi formal affair with Dancing, Piping, Music and good food.
There are literally hundreds of poems and songs he wrote including:
All over the world on Hogmanay (Scottish New Year’s Eve) we join together and sing Auld Lang Syne ("For Old Time Sake")
One of the more famous of Burns’ work is Tam O’ Shanter. An epic poem which tells of a man who stayed too long in a pub and on his way home witnessed disturbing visions
Burns’ poem to an old sausage dish eaten at Burns Dinner outside of Scotland and is a staple in many homes there through the year. A delicious treat piping hot and a wonderful poem celebrating it!
A traditional Scottish tune Burns wanted to preserve for all time as he did at the end of his life with many traditional tunes and poems. Like the lines of the poem showing that love does not lessen with the passage of time, neither does the love of Scotland for her Favorite Son.
Join us for our Robert Burns Dinner wont you? See the Highland and Irish dancers up close, the Pipe Band playing right at your table, enjoy great food and make great friends!
A kirkin (or kirking) comes from the Scottish Gaelic work "kirk" which translates to "church". So our Kirkin is a Scottish "blessing" and celebration of the firkin as well as the games.
A firkin is a unit of measurement of ale or wine being about 1/4 a barrel or roughly 9 gallons (34 liters). It also refers to the small wooden cask (or keg) in which said elixir is held and tapped directly.
Our firkin is a special Private batch of Boundary Bay's spectacular Highland Reserve Scotch Ale. This batch is placed into firkins once used to age Scotch, Rye ad/or Bourbon and is allowed to cask condition for several weeks untouched or disturbed by human hands making a smoother more robust Ale. These firkins are made of charred oak and this lends a deeper richer oaked caramelization to the Ale.
Friday evening at our free Ceilidh (Kay-Lee), Flaming Saltaire and talent show we bring out the Firkin on an "Ark", parading the deliciousness around the field until we rest it for tapping. The blessing is given and then the Chieftain of the Games drives a spigot into the Firkin so we may serve it to the masses. It is then served through the evening. Whatever might be left in that firkin and in the remaining firkins are then served the remaining two days of event filled Highland Games until we run them dry.
Since the Firkins are done in a very small batch taking extra time and effort the Highland Games limits the consumption. You have to want it to get it. To that end we offer a special Collectors Edition Limited Run Commemorative "Firkin Mug" for sale. Only those who bear a Firkin mug can buy and drink from the Firkin. Of course we will have Boundary's beautiful Highland Reserve Scotch Ale in its spectacular non firkin'd form for everyone to enjoy and Highland Games glassware for sale as well. Cheers and See you at the Games!
The Members and Friends of the Bellingham Highland Games are proud to participate in the Bellingham St. Patrick's Day Parade each year! We get together in our kilts and our green and march for fun and a wonderful cause! We all end up at Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro for some entertainment, food and of course, great beers!
Rain or shine we are out there showing our Scottish off, supporting our fellow Celtic peoples, goofing around and reminding people that the Scottish Highland Games are just around the corner!
(from Bellingham St. Patrick's Day Parade's Facebook Page)
Environmental protection and sustainability are two important goals of the all-volunteer parade committee. The Bellingham St. Patrick's Day Parade is working toward being truly "green" so we encourage creative designs for human and/or green-powered entries. While green is the goal, vehicles are not prohibited. We encourage creative use of alternative sources of energy. Walk or take the bus downtown for parade day. Bike to the parade...or better yet, bike IN the parade! Decorate your float with reclaimed, recycled, reusable materials. Assemble your parade day costume with green gear from Bellingham's many thrift stores! This day is about celebrating all the ways we can be GREEN!
Bellingham's St. Patrick's Day parade is a great chance to connect with our community! The parade is in honor of the Bellingham Police and Fire Departments, but it's also a chance to green up our community and celebrate all the great businesses, groups, schools and nonprofits that make this community what it is. Join us for this community wide event and help us celebrate all the ways we can make Bellingham greener!