Scottish heritage lives on

Steve Pyle of Athena and Rob McIntyre of Pendleton play during a past Robert Burns Supper in Condon.

A traditional Scottish meal, anecdotes from the annuls of Scottish families who settled in the greater Gilliam County and lively music from the old country will be featured during an upcoming event in Condon.

The Robert Burns Supper is Saturday, with the main program running from 2-5 p.m. at the Condon Elks Lodge, 117 S. Main St. Tickets are $17.50 each or $30 for a couple and are available at the door or in advance at the Condon Times-Journal, 319 S. Main St., Condon.

The celebration is held each year on, or near, the birth date of the famed Scottish poet. Robert Burns, Scotland’s endearing poet laureate, was born on Jan. 25, 1759.

Organizers say the program is informal, with the meal of “haggis, neeps and tatties” served up around 3 p.m. Traditionally, the convivialities and pipe music continue on into the evening, said Mac Stinchfield. The celebration includes the reading of Burns’ works and other stories and poetry, sharing of memorabilia, a shortbread contest and Scottish music.

The tradition of honoring the Scottish heritage of the greater Condon area has been alive for more than a decade, and recalls the celebrations of the 1950s when the Clan MacCleay Pipes and Drums, and Scottish families from miles around, would honor those whose ancestry heralded from Scotland.

During the 14th annual Robert Burns Supper, pipers, drummers, and vocalists are anticipated to come from Athena, Pendleton, Arlington, Redmond, Prineville, Portland, McMinnville and the Carson, Wash., area. Participants will help the Condon community celebrate its Scottish heritage on the 252nd anniversary of the birth of Scotland’s beloved bard. The celebration, which began as a small home gathering, has blossomed and become a favorite wintertime diversion in Condon.

Area folks of Scottish heritage are encouraged to search through their family lore for diaries, notes, photographs and other memorabilia, and to share the information at the gathering.

In the early days of settlement in Gilliam County, an organization known as the Caledonian Society was formed by those who arrived early, to help fellow Scots still arriving to find work and housing. During the 1950s and early ’60s, celebrations to honor the early Scottish settlers were held at Condon, John Day, Dayville and other areas where Scots settled. As the Scottish pioneers passed away, the celebrations honoring them seemed to fade away as well.

The purpose of the rejuvenated tradition is to honor the Scottish heritage of the area. The written documentation of the area’s Scottish families will become a valuable genealogical and research compilation of the area and its people. Those who attend are invited to take a run at the podium to talk of their family’s earlier years.

For more information, contact Stinchfield at times-journal@jncable.com or 541-384-2421.

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