The annual Burns Night Supper and Ceilidh featured yards and yards of Scottish plaid, bagpipe music, toasts and laughter.
The annual tribute to poet Robert Burns – and all things Scottish – was held at the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society’s historic train depot on Jan. 27. The Order of the Tartan put the program together in conjunction with the historical society.
Contemporary Catering prepared the meal. The buffet dinner started with Scotch broth, a beef and barley soup. The menu also included sliced beef with clapshot – mashed potatoes with roasted turnips.
Green beans and baby carrots were available, and attendees could choose between freshly baked yeast rolls and oatmeal bannocks. Jennifer Hanna of Contemporary Catering said the bannocks are “a traditional peasant bread.”
The dessert was cranachan, which is oatmeal soaked in cream, honey and scotch whiskey.
“This menu was created by our culinary team – Chef Caroline Carr, Chef Brandon Doucette and Baker Walter Bellisle,” Hanna said.
The Burns celebration included a celebration of haggis, a Scottish dish made from sheep organs. The haggis was brought in on plate – with Laurie Bailey playing the bagpipes and leading a procession.
As part of the ceremony, payment was made for the haggis. Then the haggis was addressed by Brian McGregor Wilson, who cut the loaf. Haggis and crackers were then served.
“This is a celebration of Scottish history, Celtic dance,” said Michael Scott, convener for the Order of the Tartan. “We want to embrace people who know and celebrate who they are what they are and what they can bring to the panoply of the world.”
James Short delivered the Selkirk Blessing, a blessing that was first spoken by Burns.
After the meal, a series of toasts followed. Steve Hesler gave the toast to the president, followed by Richard Tranter’s toast to the queen of Scots. Scott gave the toast to the lassies, which was followed by a reply given by local poet Melissa Jackson.
Winston Skinner, news editor of The Newnan Times-Herald, brought the Immortal Memory, which is a toast to Burns’ memory and legacy. Skinner talked about Burns’ elevation of the common man and compared him to Scots-Irish settlers of Coweta County in pioneer days.
In his remarks, Skinner shared a passage from “A House in the Uplands” by Coweta-born novelist Erskine Caldwell. “The sons of Scotland who came here transferred that deep love of the land to this new place, this place of opportunity and freedom,” Skinner said.
“Burns and those of his Scottish brethren who came here are still remembered,” he said. “They have taken that independence, that love of freedom, and participated in the greatest democracy in all history.”
The Sound of Sleat brought traditional Scottish music for the Ceilidh, a Scottish dance party following the formal program. Member of the Sound of Sleat were master piper Bob Mitchell, cellist Karin Loya and Pat Egan, playing the guitar and singing.
The Newnan Cultural Arts Commission sponsored the performance by the Sound of Sleat.
The Burns Night Supper and Ceilidh celebrated the 20th anniversary of the ties between Newnan/Coweta County and Ayr/Ayrshire. The cities and counties have had sister relationships for two decades.
About 110 people attended the event.
“It doesn’t just happen,” Scott said of the Burns tribute. “There are people who work and help to make it happen.”