Sunday, May 08, 2011

Scottish Festival

Columbia recently held its first Scottish games event out at the old speedway on 321. I had attended one while living in Jackson, MS and had a great time, but I was really jazzed at this one since I'm in the process of learning to play the Great Highland Bagpipe! There were several pipe and drum bands competing, and it's super exciting to know that hopefully one day I'll be a part of one!

There was several traditional Scottish games going on in the infield throughout the day, such as the caber toss, in which participants heave a 20-foot, 175-pound poll and try to get it to go end-over-end and land straight. As you can imagine, the participants are some very large and muscular individuals! Wise not to make any cracks about their kilts. :-) Speaking of kilts, there were plenty to be seen, and I saw a t-shirt stating that "Pants are for men with ugly legs." :-)

Around the central game area many vendors were set up selling Scottish and Celtic food and merchandise. I was brave and tried some haggis, made from ground up sheeps' heart, liver, and lungs. Sounds gross, but it is actually quite tasty ... just try not to think about it too much while you're eating it. :-) I also bought a beautiful ornate Celtic dagger.

There were several demonstrations going on, such as sword-fighting and sheep herding. The sheep-herding dogs were quite impressive with their obedience and agility.

This little Jack Russell Terrier was getting quite a bit of attention.

There was a tent showcasing several Celtic punk bands throughout the day. I dig this genre of music, which mixes bagpipes and other traditional Celtic instruments with traditional rock instruments. Sort of like The Ramones with bagpipes. Loud and fast!

Had a great time; I hope it becomes an annual event! And perhaps next year or the next I'll be participating with my pipes!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Great Falls Mill

On New Year's Eve I took a ride up around the Rockingham, NC area and stumbled upon the ruins of the Great Falls Mill. The original cotton mill was built in 1838 and was burned by Union soldiers in 1865. It was then rebuilt in 1869 and remained in operation until 1930, after which it served as a cotton warehouse for a number of years until it burned again in 1972, leaving the shell that we see today. Click here to see a cool Google Maps satellite view.