By Contributing Writer, Arthur C. Smith
We, the Blue Water Scots, will be hosting our 8th annual Burns Supper at Port Huron Golf Club on January 27th, two days after his 259th birthday. The charge per guest is $37.00 and attendance has been in the 110-120 range. Some guests wear Highland dress but it certainly isn’t a requirement.
The Burns Supper is one of the most celebrated events in the Scottish cultural calendar, not just in Scotland, but throughout the world. While some of the parts of the Burns Supper are used in other Scottish cultural celebrations (St. Andrews Day celebrations, Tartan Day events, etc.) the Burns Supper follows a common agenda, specific to the celebration of the life, works, and cultural heritage of Scotland’s beloved bard, Robert Burns. In addition, as Burns has evolved over more than 200 years to become an icon of Scotland and Scottish identity, the Burns Supper is also an important celebration of Scotland itself. The main objective of this evening is to celebrate Burns’ memory on or near his birthday and also celebrate our Scottish heritage!
On July 21, 1796, Burns died at age 37, and in 1801 nine of his closest friends organized a supper in the “auld cley biggin,” Burns Cottage in Alloway, Scotland (where he was born) so they could read his poems, sing his songs, have a meal of haggis, and drink to his memory. Those in attendance included the eloquent lawyer, Robert Aiken, the provost of Ayr, John Ballantine, and Primrose Kennedy of Drumellan. (the only lady to attend) Reverend Hamilton Paul gave the speech.
The “Bill O’ Fare” which includes a buffet with Cock-a-Leekie Soup, three meat selections, (yes, one is haggis prepared by Ackroyd’s Scottish Bakery of Redford, MI, and most previous guests have loved it!) champit tatties and bashed neeps, (potatoes and turnips) salad, Baps, (Scottish rolls) and a Tipsy Laird trifle for desert. (all traditional Burns Supper fare)
The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with “The Gathering” and music is provided by the School for Strings Fiddle Club. At 6:30 p.m. the bagpiper plays “Scotland the Brave” and leads the head table into the banquet room. Shortly after, the haggis is “piped” in and Burns’ poem “To a Haggis” is recited. Following dinner the program begins with bagpipe selections, dancers performing authentic Scottish dances, and Burns poetry recitations. Also traditional at the Supper is the delivery of the Immortal Memory speech, the Toast to the Lassies, and the Response from the Lassies. (some previous guests have even been known to raise a wee toast or two during the evening’s festivities!) The evening ends with the recitation of one of Burns’ most famous poems, “Tam O’ Shanter, followed by all the guests standing around the perimeter of the banquet room, holding hands, and singing “Auld Lang Syne” (the current version credited to Burns)
For ticket information or to learn more about the Blue Water Scots call or email Arthur Smith at: (810) 523-4140 / email@example.com
Arthur C. Smith, 77 of Port Huron, is a 3rd generation funeral director at Smith Family Funeral Home. He graduated from Port Huron High School in 1958, Albion College in 1962, and played varsity tennis at both schools. In 1964 he received his Mortuary Science license. In the early 1980s he became a Little Caesars Pizza franchisee and was involved with stores in South Texas, Northwest Ohio, and Oakland County, MI. His community service over the years has included March of Dimes, Boy Scouts, Salvation Army, Grace Episcopal Church, Port Huron Hospital, Blue Water Hospice, and Kiwanis. In 1972 he was named Jaycees Young Man of the Year. He has played in all 60 Robinson Tennis Tournaments and is an avid runner having completed 18 marathons including 5 Boston Marathons. Because of his Scottish lineage Art has been instrumental in organizing the local Burns Supper held each January. He and his wife, Sue, have been married over 54 years and have three children and 6 grandchildren.
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