Kilt Confab: Queen Mary's ScotsFestival

Bagpipes, sheep, athletics, and tartans return to the Long Beach landmark.

A TARTAN-TASTIC TRIBUTE: If you had been in Scotland back in the early 1930s, somewhere along the River Clyde near Clydebank, you would have seen a colossal ship coming together, complete with wide decks and towering smokestacks and a royal name to proudly bear: RMS Queen Mary. The ocean-liner became a favorite of movie stars, and then Winston Churchill's office at sea during World War II, before sailing again as a passenger ship. The grand boat's final sail happened in 1967, when it arrived in Long Beach, where it remains to this day, a permanent hotel, attraction, and historic point. But how such a marvel came together on the banks of the River Clyde is well-remembered, as is the Queen Mary's country of birth. Not only can you find a notable amount of documentation on the ship about Scotland and the ship's beginnings, but you can delve into the delights of food and sport and style each February, when the ocean-liner celebrates...

SCOTSFESTIVAL: Don your tartan and prepare for a full two days of Scottish-style celebration, days that include traditional athletics, sheep-herding demonstrations, and the enjoyment of fine whiskys (enjoyment that's guided by "aged malt experts"). Bagpipes, drums, darts, Highland dancing, and vendors aplenty encourage the notion that you've somehow left the fair shores of California for the Clydebank of another era. If you've never witnessed a sheaf toss or hammer throw in person, the palpable, "how do they do it?" feeling among the spectators is worth getting to know. For Highland games excitement, tartan traditions, and some sweet sheeply doings, plan on making for the started-in-Scotland landmark on Saturday, Feb. 18 and Sunday, Feb. 19.

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