The Good, the Bad, and the Haggis

*Originally posted on 10/4/2012 to Honest Adventure

The Celtic Festival in Grass Valley was the perfect escape this past weekend*.

I haven’t talked about it yet, but I absolutely adore Celtic music. I love Scotland. I love Scottish men people. I love the rusticness of a Scottish accent and the lilting brogue of the Irish. I love men in kilts. And I love bagpipes. OH how I love bagpipes!

A scant hour and a half from my home, the Celtic Festival and Marketplace brought just the right amount of distance from home to feel like I was really getting away without the bother or expense of a big trip.

The extra fun part is that the Marketplace aspect of the festival is basically a miniature Renaissance Faire, so it brought back a ton of memories from the summer when I was 17, running around in costume, working for a gaming booth at the NorCal Ren Faire.

topless kilt

Upon arrival, I immediately was excited by the sight of so many men in kilts. Have I mentioned that I love men in kilts?

Mmmm….. sorry, was drooling a wee bit there.

So there I was. Surrounded by men in kilts (even wearing one myself) and assaulted on all sides by the beautiful Celtic music from the various stages around the festival. I was in something of a state of nirvana.

One important thing for me is to take a turn about the marketplace without any money on hand to determine what I might desire and to temper that desire with the appropriate restraint that only walking away at least once can provide. The only item that irrevocably caught my attention was a hand-crafted Claddagh ring, made by a local Grass Valley artisan.


I like to think of it as a standing advertisement to all men who might be desirous of buying me a pint and getting to know me better.

The trick for me was finding one that wasn’t… well… fat. (The ring, not the men.) Most Claddagh rings I see are bulkier and, as you can tell, I’m a rather petite individual. So this was ideal for me. (To give you a better idea… the ring is a size 4… barely. I’m miniscule.)

Plus, if I were to wait for a significant other to gift me with one, then it would get real awkward to wear as soon as things were over. So by getting one for myself, I saved myself the possible grief of wearing a ring an ex gave me to indicate I was in a relationship with someone else. AWKWARD MOMENTS, Y’ALL.

And now, back to the festival!

paul mckenna band

One of the earliest performances I watched became one of my favorites of the festival – the Paul McKenna Band.

By listening to my Celtic Music Pandora station, I had heard of them before, but had never actively listened to them. I was more than pleased with the result! From Scotland himself, I was immediately entranced by the voice of Paul McKenna and the natural rhythms of the rest of the band (all native Scots, less one from Pennsylvania).

Later in the evening, we watched one of the headliners perform – Bad Haggis.

While they weren’t a bad band, I just didn’t feel like they really fit the setting for me. They’re more like a classic rock band with the occasional Celtic style/instrument thrown into every third song. (Slight exaggeration, I’ll admit, but they just weren’t what I was anticipating.)

the elders gothard sisters

Fortunately, they were followed up by the Elders, whose music I had heard a little bit at a smaller stage earlier, and came to enjoy even more thoroughly as they played the final set of the first day.

The next day, I was able to indulge in a lunch of (quite tasty) haggis, witness the unbearably talented Gothard Sisters (another favorite of mine from the festival), and finally got to see some solid bagpipes playing about the festival.



At one point, just a couple of the pipers were playing for fun and one broke into the opening theme of Star Wars… on the bagpipes. My life felt complete in that moment.

Naturally, since the dude had a bit of a beard and was pretty cute, I figured it was safe to offer to buy him a pint. So I did.

Kid was 17. Totally unexpected twist! So at that point in the conversation, I may or may not have made a reference to how tiny he was, being so young, and promptly retreated to lick my wounds.

So I guess the moral of the story is to always find out how old the dude is before making a move, even if he has a proper beard and plays Star Wars on the bagpipes.



  1. The other moral would be to find what you love in life and do it (which you have done quite well) 🙂

  2. Hahaha..funny, and awkward!

    I do love Scotland, even after having lived there for around 7 years off and on I love it. (Although it has good and bad area´s…I recommend St Andrews and the the Islands are really nice.

    One day we should meet up in Scotland for a ceilidh and round of The Dashing White Sargent!

    (Side note…men often wear kilts to go out clubbing in Scotland)

    • Very awkward, Celeste!

      And I can’t imagine ever getting sick of Scotland. I feel like I could live there my whole life and never feel like it was long enough.

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