The Scottish Highland Festival and Games at Queen Mary in Long Beach

The Scottish Highland Festival and Games at Queen Mary in Long Beach, California
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Who Ever Knew That History Lessons Could Be Fun?

On a recent extraordinarily beautiful Southern California weekend Kim and I did something completely out of the ordinary: we took a weekend Scottish history lesson. Luckily for me, this crash course was not in school. But, as a key verse in the song, "Mesopotamia" by the B-52's goes, "I am no student of ancient culture. But, before I talk, I should read a book." (Opening photo: The Clans appeared in Long Beach, California for the annual Scottish Highlands Festival and Games, set on the Clan Keith Tartan.)
In both of our cases, being short on time, and in my case, short on functioning brain cells, we headed off to Long Beach, California to spend a glorious weekend enjoying the 11th Annual Queen Mary Scottish Festival and Games being held at the historic Queen Mary. Our intent was to soak up a wee bit of Scottish culture, food, music, and drink while having a good time. Who would have known that we'd even learn something while having fun?

Like ancient castles on the rocky Scottish coast, we were besieged with things to see and do at this annual February festival. Whether you're of Scottish heritage or not, this event is easily something you can take the whole clan to. Everyone can find something that interests them, from watching the colorful parades and ear shattering historic reenactments, to checking out the working dogs in their instinctual sheep herding demonstrations. Heavy athletics events, of which I'll explain later, are quite a sight to see.

For a more musical interlude, treat your ears to the bag piping and drumming competitions going on all weekend throughout the boat and grounds. For those with more than Scottish whisky coursing through your veins, like our editor, it's quite easy to track your ancestry through any of the nearly 60 Scottish clans that attend this event, making it one of the largest Scottish gatherings in the U.S.

Then, for pub dwellers up to the challenge, how about testing your hand/eye coordination by trying your hand at the $5,000.00 darts tournament? If pub games are too strenuous and you prefer more sedentary events like shopping from the many vendors or want to watch the highland dancing competitions, then so be it. Who am I to argue?

Unfortunately, I missed participating in the whisky tasting on Friday night of this three-day event, since I was distracted by my evil friend Jim with a good bottle of tequila. Hence, my initial shortage of functioning brain cells and not wanting to sit in a stuffy classroom doing something boring like learning. In all, each event was not only fun, but if you were not careful, you learned something new without reading a book just because this event is so unique and interesting.

There Will Be No Raining on This Parade

For the first time in at least the last five years, the Norse rain gods didn't pay a visit to the Scottish Festival and Games. Kim and I have regularly been attending this event for years and years, and always thought that the chilly rain was part of the Scottish charm and atmosphere. I thought it was like actually being in Scotland, yet without Nessie doing the backstroke around the loch. We first started attending this event to participate in their British car show that coordinated with the Scottish Festival, but unfortunately due to two new event sponsors being Toyota and Mercedes, I assume, the British car show was dropped from the roster. Now, with this event being dry as a bone, yet a cool 62 degrees, it seemed different regardless of the fact that Long Beach has an average of 357 sunny days per year.

The Black Watch Posts The Colors

The contest was narrowed to 15 semifinalists,

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Don and Kim Tatera, Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent Read Jetsetters Magazine at To book travel visit at and for Beach Resorts visit Beach Booker at

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Kim and Don Tatera, Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent. Join the Travel Writers Network in the logo at Leave Your email next to the logo for FREE e travel newsletter.

Kim and Don Tatera