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Fergus Highland Games 2010

Well I did manage to get to Fergus but wasn't feeling that well so did cut my visit short. I did however manage to get pictures of most of the clan tents and a few crowd scenes. All the pictures below are thumbnails so if you click on any picture you'll get a much larger one to view.  This is actually the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games to give the full title and it was their 65th anniversary.

The above pictures are as you come into the main ground from the back parking area. We see some young folk in the foreground and also the tents of the Highland dancers and their families.. And then the heavy events arena.

I first arrived at the Clan Campbell tent and right away spotted the clan passport

And here it is.  This idea came about as a suggestion from Doug Ross who is on the board of the Scottish Studies Foundation and the Foundation agreed to sponsor it. The idea is that the children get presented with the passport and then they need to visit as many clan tents as possible to get their passport stamped. Excellent idea!

Clan Passport
I would love to get some feedback on what both parents and children thought of the Clan Passport idea and if any parent would like to send me in a picture of their child with the clan passport I'd be happy to publish it in here along with any comments they might like to make. Should you have any thoughts on how the system might be improved please let me know.

Talking to Doug Ross on the following Monday he told me there were about 495 distributed on the Saturday of which 200 went to the McKiddies Centre. A dozen each went to the seventeen clans who responded positively about having a badge-stamp (204). His wife Pat handed out 25 to places where youngsters lined up eg for ice-cream. Clan Wallace ran out of booklets and got another dozen. Doug himself handed out another 40 to youngsters without passports as they passed the Clan Ross tent. The remainder were distributed by other volunteers. None of the 495 were left at the end of Saturday.

Doug send me in a copy of his report...

CLAN PASSPORT REPORT – August 25, 2010

Printing Costs
The estimated costs of 100 booklets in colour was $89.50 + tax (or approximately $102.92), compared to b/w at $45.50 + tax (or approximately $52.33). We figured that 500 booklets with 80lb cover stock and 12 blank sides per booklet would be ample as a preliminary test of the idea. The actual cost on July 7 came to a total of (downpayment $100 plus balance $157.08) $257.08 in spite of the HST of 13% and an increase in paper costs.

Distribution of the Clan Passports
About 495 were distributed on Saturday, August 14, of which 200 went to the McKiddies Centre (split between morning and afternoon). A dozen each went to seventeen clans which responded positively about having rubber stamps of badges; this accounted for 204 more booklets. Clan Wallace ran out of booklets and got another dozen. The balance were handed out by my wife (Patricia Ross) and I at locations where youngsters were lined up, such as at ice-cream vendors, or along the Avenue of the Clans after Highland Dancers had completed their competitions; other children with parents arrived at the Clan Ross tent without Clan Passports, and received one on-the-spot. None of the 495 booklets were left at the end of Saturday.

With very few exceptions, the booklets were handed to the youngsters in the presence of their parents.

Stamping the Booklets
One young lad came to the Clan Ross tent for our stamp but, when I checked his booklet, he had already received our stamp; he said that he was trying to fill the booklet.

Another lad showed up on Sunday, and said that he didn’t get stamps from the Ross, Hunter, Gunn, MacNeil and Campbell tents on Saturday . . . so I got the stamp from the car to satisfy part of his request.

A couple of adults asked for a Clan Passport booklet; one said she was a “wannabee” from Ohio, who wanted to know more about the clan system.

What Were the Side Benefits?
This important question was asked by Alastair McIntyre of the Electric Scotland website after acknowledging that many booklets had been distributed, but “Do you have any thoughts on what all this achieved?”

Carolyn McLeod-McCarthy, the senior volunteer in charge of the McKiddies Centre, emailed the following message. “The clan passports were a big hit with a lot of the kids and I would highly recommend we do this again next year. I do the marketing and print ads for the festival, so I would love to advertise this in the Children's venue schedule to grow interest in the Avenue of the Clans and encourage the kids not only to collect stamps, but to learn more about their heritage.”

Janette Veal of Stratford. Ontario, whose son contributed photos for the Clan Ross website wrote, “We (the family) thought your passport idea was brilliant.  It certainly gets the young folk involved with the concept of clans, and, of course, the adults must go along with them (a double-edged sword?). The kids don't stop until they have entered every last clan in the book !   I have to say that the whole children's programme was excellent which is a must if you are to keep the families returning each year. There were new activities as well as some old favourites and all age ranges seem to have been covered  -  well done !

My interest in the Scottish Studies Foundation has been piqued  -  I intend to look into it further.  A trip or two to the U of G Library is definitely on my agenda next month.”

Observations and Recommendations
My wife noted that the demand for booklets was beyond expectations. We ran out and needed more on Saturday afternoon. Perhaps 700 Clan Passports could have been ordered.

I would say that weather played a major role in the success of the booklets. Any promise to provide Clan Passports should be qualified by a statement that we reserve the right to cancel the handouts if there is bad weather such as happened at the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games in August of 2008. A handy parking spot is key to the security of the booklets as well.

Any Clan Passports which are retained can be used the following year.

There was a very important measure of the success of the programme. None of the booklets were tossed on the ground. The youngsters kept the Clan Passports.

J. Douglas Ross, FSA Scot

Clan MacNeil

Clan Gunn

Clan Ross were celebrating their 50th anniversary and were the featured clan of the games.  I managed a few words with Doug Ross but while I got a wave from Pat Ross I couldn't find her after the picture was taken.

Clan Hunter and Clan Johnston

Clan Rattray and Clan MacLennan

Clan MacLachlan and Clan Mackay

Clan MacDougall and Clan Fergusson

Clan Nisbet and Clan MacKenzie

Clan Graham and Clan Lockhart

Clan MacNicol and Clan Sinclair

Clan Stewart Society and a smartly dressed couple

Clan Donald and Clan Gordon

Clan Wallace all ready for the clan parade

Clan Wallace and Clan MacGregor

Clan MacLellan and Clan Barclay

Clan Leslie and Clan Stewart

Clan Murray

And a well dressed Leslie

Clan Leslie and Clan Maxwell Society of Canada

Clan Young and a better view of the Clan Stewart tent

Clan Maxwell Society of Canada and Clan MacPherson

Clan McLeod and the Scottish Banner tent

Clan Elliot

Dr Graeme Morton on the right and I can't remember the lady on the left.

This was the gathering of the clans and I've kept these pictures to a very high resolution as if you were there you might spot yourself in the crowd.

I might add that there was a lot more available at these games such as Sheep Shearing, Spinning and Weaving, Hand Quilting, Celtic Needlework, Horseshoeing, The What and How of Bagpipes, Tartans and Plaids, Scottish Cuisine, Pottery Demonstrations and Fly Tying Techniques. They also had a Genealogy & Education tent with lots of lecturers. There was also a McKiddies Centre with lots of activities for the wee ones. There are also the traditional Heavy events, Highland Dancing, Pipe Bands and lots more to enjoy. The festival was founded in 1946 by Alex Robertson as a community wide celebration of Scottish life and customs. Since then the festival has grown to proudly earn the title of the oldest 3 day Scottish Festival in North America attracting over 28,000 visitors.

I did see a lot of younger people at this event which bodes well for the future.

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