The Local Tap – The 55th Annual Colonial Highland Gathering

This past weekend we participated in what has become a yearly tradition here at The Dogs of Beer, we packed everyone up and attended the 55th annual Colonial Highland Gathering in Fair Hill, Md.

Once a year a horde of pipers, drummers, athletes, artisans and Celtic minded people descend on the one time steeplechase track and turn it into a little slice of rolling Scottish Hillsides. The country side resonates with the sounds of drums and bagpipes as bands tune in the field preparing for the Massed Bands as a crowd in the stands cheers for athletes as they compete traditional events such as caber toss, weight throws, and one of my favorites the sheaf toss.

But that’s not all there is to see and do. If you explore the grounds you’ll find such interesting things such as dance competitions, fiddle workshops, spinning and weaving demonstrations, herding dog demonstrations, the piping in of the haggis and “The Clachan”, the clan tents where you can do some research to get your tartan on.

And of course there’s music. But not just the music from the pipe bands as the fair consistently brings in national and local artists to perform everything from traditional to modern Celtic music. This year the main stage was shared by one of my favorites Albannach from Glasgow whose music is driven by thundering tribal drum beats; and the sisters Searson whose set is a pleasant mixture of Celtic inspired songs and lilting fiddle tunes that will make any lover of this genre of music smile.

In select areas around the fair, local performers Charlie Zahm (along with long time collaborator, fiddler Tad Marks) who I’ve been following longer than both of us would probably care to admit, and Carl Peterson spent the day entertaining the crowd with traditional and original Celtic music.

(As always, click on a picture to see them in slideshow mode)

Of course two of the biggest draws to the Gathering are the many pipe and drum bands that come to compete and perform, along with the athletes who spend the hot day tossing heavy things around in the name of friendly compitition.

Sadly there’s never enough time to  do it all, and before I knew it the time had come to say beannachd leat. A good time was had by all.


Buddy Avatar 50A good time was had by ALL?


Oh come on. Let’s not do this.

Buddy Avatar 50Dude, they WOULDN’T LET ME IN!!


Stop taking it personally. They weren’t letting any dogs in this year.

Buddy Avatar 50I think you need to write a strong letter.


That wouldn’t help.

Buddy Avatar 50With lots of forceful sentences with cuss words.


Not going to happen.

Buddy Avatar 50Traitor.


You’re being childish.

Buddy Avatar 50I WAS LOCKED UP WITH A CAT!!! A CAT!!!! Do  you know the only thing good about being locked up with a cat?



Buddy Avatar 50Getting freed from being locked up with a cat!


Say goodbye.

Buddy Avatar 50Big Pussy.


Enough about the cat.

Buddy Avatar 50I wasn’t talking about the cat.


Wait till I get home.

THE FINAL SIP: State Line Liquors brings Oskar Blues’ Old Chub every year. But it’s not Old Chub until I say it’s Old Chub. And it was Old Chub.


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