The annual Robbie Burns night in Penticton was a sell-out success

Haggis, bagpipes sold out

Piping hot haggis, bagpipes, and highland dancers were all part of the sold-out Robbie Burns Night at Penticton Lakeside Resort on Saturday.

“We sold 260 tickets to this Robbie Burns Night. We are pretty excited about that,” said Elizabeth Smith, president of the Penticton Scottish Festival Society who organized this year’s event. “I think the draw for people is to celebrate their Celtic heritage. Many came dressed in their best tartans.”

One of the main highlights of Robbie Burns Night is to share in Scotland’s national dish called haggis.

“We have the haggis made in the traditional way, right from scratch by Askew’s Foods in Armstrong,” she said. “Haggis is an acquired taste. But anything that has gravy on it, can be made delicious.”

Haggis is a savory pudding, composed of the heart and liver of a sheep or other animal, mixed with beef or mutton, oatmeal and seasonings.

But before the haggis is cut open and served, there is a traditional ceremony including the haggis being piped in.

Burns’ famous poem ‘Address to the Haggis’ was read by Bob McMillan, who organized the first Robbie Burns Day in Penticton several years ago. The ‘Address to the Haggis’ poem was written by Burns about his love of haggis, forever connecting Scotland’s ploughman poet to the sausage-like dish.

The Penticton Robbie Burns Night is a fundraiser for the Society’s Scottish Festival.

“Our goal as a society is to keep growing the festival,” said Smith. “Last year, 2,700 people came out to enjoy the event. It was our biggest turn out so far. The whole point of the festival is for people, for youth especially, to celebrate in their Celtic roots and for everyone to enjoy and share in Scottish traditions.”

This year’s Scottish Festival takes place July 4 on the fields of Penticton Secondary School.

The Robbie Burns night included a roast beef dinner and plenty of Celtic traditions, including a wee shot of whiskey, if guests wanted to.

The night’s entertainment including the Vale United pipe band and the Okanagan Youth Pipe Band as well as the Emily McDonald School of Highland Dance and the Castilla Irish Dance School performing.

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