March 2020     Title   Past Issues

In this Issue:

  2020 Phoenix Scottish Games   Recent Bookmarks
  President's Letter   Four Peaks Brewing Party
  2020 Games Update   Snippets from Scotland
  Scotland's Hidden Gems   Coming Events - Valley & Nearby
  Genealogy at the Games   A Word from our Advertisers  

Upcoming Events

Phoenix Scottish Games

Phoenix Scottish Games

Games flyer

Red Hot Chili Pipers

Billed as "The most Famous Pipe Band on the Planet", RHCP will be performing in Phoenix on March 7 at the Madison Center for the Arts.

This is NOT a Society event nor is it part of our Scottish Games that weekend, however the Band and your Society have agreed to promote each other's events. Look for more information to come.

President's Letter
David McBee, President

David McBee

I hope to see ALL of you at the Games - March 7 and 8.

And remember that we have FREE PARKING at 3121 N. Third Ave. - which is the back parking lot of the Park Central Mall - Third Ave. and Earll Drive.

And there is a FREE SHUTTLE BUS to and from the Games entrance.


2020 Games Update

With only days to go until the annual Scottish Games, the Society’s biggest event of the year, last-minute plans are all being put in place and organizers are confident of another bumper, record-breaking weekend.

The 56th Phoenix Scottish Games are being staged on Saturday and Sunday, 7th and 8th March, from 9 am to 5 pm Saturday, and 9 am to 4 pm on the Sunday. Everything that goes into making the Games a unique spectacle will be in place, from tossing the caber, and massed pipe bands to Highland dancing competitions, Celtic music, and Scottish clan tents.

Already organizers are talking of record entries in many categories. There will be opportunities to win tickets to the Red Hot Chili Pipers concert at the Madison Center for the Arts on the Saturday evening; to other Highland Games in Arizona; and for food and merchandise. There will even be contests for best sexy kilt, best Scottish accent, and best beard.

The features that have made the Phoenix Games such a success over the years will all be there. The genealogy tent run by the Society’s chief genealogist Robert Wilbanks will be at the north end of the park, beside a variety of tents staffed by representatives of dozens of Scottish clans. Both have proved hugely popular with visitors in recent years.

Once again, the Wicked Tinkers will be the main attraction at the Kilt Lifter Ghillie Dhu stage, along with Scott Jeffers & Traveller. There will be many other musical acts, including the Mountain View Fiddlers, the Gilbert Town Fiddlers, Stoneybank nnd the Coast Guard Band in the Learner's Arms; and others in the Kilt Lifter Tap Room - da Mort Ceol, Open Beta Band, Cambridge Ave. Pipers and Chris Yates

Children are always catered for at the Games and a special kids’ area, run by the Knights of St Andrew, is being set up. The youngsters will even have their own mini-athletics competition.

The popular British Car Show will, as always, be located close to the main entrance. And don’t forget the Scottish food offerings including steak pie, haggis, fish and chips, and meat pie, from the various catering outlets.

The main sponsor is once again Four Peaks Brewery. Johnnie Walker, Pepsi and many other businesses will be represented around the main field. With the heavy rain having come and gone, hopes are high that the sun will shine and that the Games will once again be the crowning glory in the Society’s calendar.

Scotland's Hidden Gems - Whisky Tail
Iain Lundy

In Scotland there are whisky distilleries everywhere, from the Borders to the Highlands and Islands and all points in between. Even the main cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh now boast their own whisky-making plants.

However, if you fancy doing a Scottish whisky pilgrimage and spending a day or two hitting as many distilleries as possible, there is only one part of the country worth considering, and that is Speyside. In the little towns and villages that dot the Aberdeenshire and Moray countryside, it often seems that a distillery lurks around every corner.

Most of the leading ‘Glen’ brands are headquartered there – Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Glen Grant, Glenfarclas, and Glen Moray to name a few. Add in classics such as Macallan, Benromach, Aberlour, and Balvenie, and you have a malt whisky trip to savor.

Malt Whisky Trail

The places that house the distilleries are all reasonably close to each other and are all picturesque and well worth visiting. They include Dufftown, Tomintoul, Rothes, Forres, and Aberlour. If you use the town of Elgin as your base, then you’ll be close to them all.

All malt whisky aficionados have their own favorite or favorites. Like music, food, and literature, whisky is subjective. But here, in no special order, are three of the best distilleries in the Speyside region that you might want to consider visiting.

Macallan: The whisky distilled at the Macallan factory, just outside the village of Craigellachie, has long been considered among the finest Scotland has to offer. It is listed as the third-highest selling malt in the world Now it has a building that is as spectacular as the taste of the product.

Visitors to the Macallan plant walk up a long path to what seems like a space-age visitor experience. The building, opened in 2018, is an architectural gem. It is buried deep into a grassy hillside, and the rooftop appears as a series of rolling grass-covered peaks. The interior is like a five-star hotel, with a wall of whisky at the entrance. The building is as spectacular as the whisky.

Glenfarclas: Located near the village of Ballindalloch, the Glenfarclas is typical of the old-fashioned, family-run distilleries that have been in this part of the world for several centuries. The Grant family started operations here in the 1790s and the whisky has consistently been a favorite.

A Glenfarclas tour with one of the many knowledgeable guides is a highly enjoyable experience and topped off by a free dram at the end. It is situated in rolling countryside and provides a flavor of whisky-making that appears almost unchanged for generations.

Glen Grant: The Glen Grant distillery – not the same Grant family that runs Glenfarclas – is in the small town of Rothes. The whisky is delicious, and the visitor tour is a treat. But there is one added extra that sets it apart from others.

Guests are taken out of the main building into a long garden, and eventually to a rock face, inside which Major Grant kept his cast iron safe. The rock is then ‘opened’ with a key and a silver platter of whisky glasses is taken out of the safe for the visitors to sample. Incidentally, Glen Grant was the first distillery to use electric light.

Research Your Scottish Ancestry

Robert WilbanksGenealogy at the Phoenix Scottish Games

by Robert M. Wilbanks IV, B.A.
Chief Genealogist & Historian, C.S.A.

The genealogy tent has been among the most popular features of the Games for the past few years. The Society is fortunate to have the services of Robert Wilbanks as its chief genealogist, and he and his team deal with dozens of Scottish ancestry-related inquiries every year.

Once again there will be several professional genealogists ‘on duty’ in the tent as well as a team of volunteers who will direct visitors to the vast collection of maps and books on display. Those who are interested in getting help with establishing a Scottish genealogical link will be passed on to a researcher.

The tent will be situated at the north end of the park, beside the clan area. All those interested in making a family connection with Scotland should pay the genealogists a visit.

Recent Bookmarks

A couple of eye-catching books have just come on the market, both extremely amusing in different ways.

Billy Connollly  

The first is an autobiography by arguably the funniest comedian produced by Scotland in the second half of the 20th century, Billy Connolly.

In the book, Tall Tales and Wee Stories, Connolly describes his life growing up in Glasgow and his decades-long career from the shipyards to the stage.

Watch out too for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stane, the JK Rowling classic translated entirely into Scottish.

And good luck when you try reading it out loud in a Scottish accent.

  J K Rowling

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Four Peaks "After Party"

WFour Peakse’ll all need to relax and chill a little after the hectic weekend of the Scottish Games. To that end, we have been invited along by event sponsor Four Peaks Brewery to spend an afternoon at their premises the following weekend.

The Games after-party starts on Sunday March 15 at 3 pm at the brewery, based at 1340 East 8th Street, Tempe. CSA members are all welcome to come along, enjoy a few drinks and something from the food menu, and share their stories from the Games.

Snippets from Scotland

The Herald Scotland

Scotland has long been behind the concept of green energy – but concerns have been raised about the felling of trees to make way for turbines..

BBC News

A message in a bottle thrown from the liner Queen Mary ll by an American publisher has been found on a remote beach on the Shetland Islands. The finder, Henry Anderton, will receive a $1,000 prize.

The Herald Scotland

For the princely sum of £199 a night, visitors to Edinburgh can now stay in the old Queen’s Apartments at the foot of the Royal Mile facing the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The buildings date to 1490.

COMING EVENTS and Highland Games in Arizona and Nearby

March 7-8 56th Annual Phoenix Scottish Games
Steele Indian School Park, Phoenix

March 7 Red Hot Chili Pipers
Madison Center for the Arts, Phoenix

March 6-8 Sonora Celtic Festivel
Sonora CA

March 15, 3 PM Four Peaks "After Party"
1340 East 8th St. Tempe

April 18-19 Las Vegas Celtic Gathering
Las Vegas NV

April 18-19 Kern County Scottish Games & Gathering
Bakersfield CA

April 25-26 Woodland Celtic Games & Festival
Woodland CA

Society Membership

We are realigning our membership year to coincide with the Annual Phoenix Scottish Games - now March through February.

Membership dues are:
- - $30.00 single and $50.00 Family (at the same address)

It's easy - just jump to the Membership Page for information.

Society Gatherings
Membership gatherings are often held on the second Thursday of each month, many at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central Ave., Phoenix - others around the Valley - usually beginning at 6:30 pm. Please check our website for further details.

A Word from our Advertisers

Kilt Rental USA

Len Wood
Bagpiper USB

Lois Wallace


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