I went to university in St Andrews, Scotland – a cobble-stoned village by the sea – and I remember it so fondly. It gave me some of my best friends, happiest memories and brilliant opportunities (and some semi useful knowledge). So when my Scottish pal Louise said that a Tartan Parade was coming to toun, I jumped at the chance to wave a saltire in support.
The parade was part of New York’s Tartan Week, which celebrates Scottish culture every year. There are ceilidhs (‘kaylees’ – Scottish dances), bands and art on display, but the week is welcomed by the glorious spectacle of kilt-clad bagpipers playing along Sixth Avenue.
In a flurry of Glasgow accents, Louise and her relatives met me and Ryan at the start of the parade. Unlike other parades we’ve been to in the city, this one wasn’t super busy, so we could nab a good spot with relative ease.
Then the pipes and drums began and groups – including New York Scottish societies and school bands – started their march. From tots dressed in mini kilts to stern band leaders with perfectly-groomed mustaches, the parade welcomed any Scotland fan.
One of the highlights was seeing my alma mater represented. Why aren’t I a part of this?
As they passed, I waved my flag so vigorously that it broke.
But by far the best moment was the dogs! Scottie dogs and West Highland Terriers proudly pounding the pavement dressed in a selection of tartan outfits.
Some of the marchers were pretty lackluster (like the teens walking along looking at their phones), but I loved checking out the different tartans, some beautifully-groomed facial hair and of course those fashionable little pooches.
Thanks for bringing me a taste of home, New York! And now I’m looking forward to some more Scottish events in the week ahead. Perhaps I’ll track down some veggie haggis?