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A Couple of Newby’s are Back with a Guide to GOTCHF! (Bless you!)

By: Kari Fox-Newby and Karali Newby

(Context: GOTCHF is pronounced like 'got-chehff')

Act 1, Scene1 opens in a community somewhere in Flagstaff County:

Dude in a Kilt: “Are you coming to GOTCHF?”
Uninformed Person: “Bless you!” K.: “No… GOTCHF, it’s short for Gathering of the Clans Highland Festival!”
U.P.: “Oh…I’m not sure, what is it anyway?” K.: It’s the Flagstaff Scottish Club’s one day summer festival!

As a member of the Flagstaff Players, our local community theatre group, we were approached three years ago by Karen Robinson of the Flagstaff Scottish Club (FSC). FSC was busily planning for their first annual Gathering of the Clans Highland Festival (GOTCHF) and were looking for some live entertainment. Karen wondered if we at the Players could come up with something. It was a very open ended invitation giving us creative freedom to use our talents to entertain, educate and amaze the audience with a Scottish theme. We arrived as a small but inventive trio of actors and did our best. The “Great Kilt Demo,” performed by Karali Newby for the first time that day, has now been done a dozen times at various Flagstaff Scottish Club events, and has acquired a bit of a “kilt following.” I’m not sure what the attraction is, she just takes off her kilt and shows everyone how to put it back on! She will be back for an encore at this summer’s Gathering of the Clans.

As a couple of Newby’s (pun intended!), Karali and I weren’t really sure what to expect at that first Gathering, but we soon discovered we would have a lot of fun! By year two I had joined the Battle River Pipes and Drums Band and we were sure to buy all day passes so we wouldn’t miss a thing.

What is a Gathering of the Clans?

In Scotland, the Clan system ruled for several hundred years. Clan means “children” or “descendants” and clans were the Scots way of governing themselves. They would gather to organize for battle, swear loyalty to their chieftains, and challenge one another to feats of physical prowess. Today, we have a Gathering of the Clans to celebrate and share the rich heritage of Scottish culture and traditions with the Flagstaff community and beyond.

What to Expect from GOTCHF

A full day starts with the opening ceremonies at 10am. You’ll get to see our very own Battle River Pipes and Drums Band in action. We’ve made a lot of progress since our last GOTCHF in 2019, we can even play more than one tune now! Woot woot! We will also be having some special guests to help kick off the day festivities!

There will be Heavy Events where local men and women will compete in ancient challenges like caber toss and weight for height for fun and bragging rights. There are professionals coming to teach entrants how to do each event and to demonstrate how a professional competition is held for the audience. If you’d like to test your metal, fill out this Heavy Events Registration Form for your chance to compete, regardless of your experience!

Some clan tents will be on site showing off their heritage with tartans and coats of arms. They will also help folks trace their family connections to ancient clans as well.

Like any great outdoor festival, we will have a variety of food trucks onsite to keep your energy up.

Here's a little list of some of the food trucks you can expect:

**The full list of food trucks attending are available on the event details page!

There is also a Vendor Village market, but you won’t find mass produced items here. Our market is focused on hand crafted , artisan goods and items with a historical or cultural flair. You might find anything from broadswords forged for chopping wood to handmade jewelry and Celtic home decor. You can buy a great kilt, taste craft beer or sharpen your sgian dubhs.

Here's a little list of some of the vendors you can expect:

**The full list of vendors attending are available on the event details page!

Besides the spectacle of the Heavy Events, we have entertainment throughout the day including demonstrations by Beaumont School of Highland Dance, the Ratté family string quartet, buskers, singers, a blacksmith, and a Great Kilt Demo... to name a few!

You won’t want to miss the musical duel between our own Battle River Pipes and Drums Band and our new local dentist and violinist, Leanne Ball. This challenge was made on Facebook after Leanne saw the BRP&D’s play in Sedgewick’s July 1st Parade. She was inspired to pick up her violin and played a Scottish tune in a grain silo on her farm. You can see the video on Facebook shared on the Flagstaff Scottish Club page. She was so inspired she laid down a challenge, and the BRP&D’s was happy to accept.

**The full list of entertainment is available on the event details page!

If you’re looking to hone your putting skills, check out our mini golf course for some family fun. You can play free all day with your gate pass purchase. Just watch out for some interesting characters who may just make the game harder than it first appears.

We’ll also have some furry friends for the littles to visit with. We were unable to secure a real haggis as they are devilishly tricky to catch at this time of year, but highland cows make for some great photo bombers. Get your daily dose of oxytocin with fluffy cuddles in the petting zoo or with the Irish Wolf Hounds. Oh, did we mention that Medicine River Wildlife Center will also be there with some owls? No shortage of furry friends!

After a busy day of events, the afternoon activities wrap up with a mass band performance open to all pipers and drummers in attendance. But that is not the end! No sir... That's only for the day event from 10am-4pm. The festivities are still just beginning!

After the mass band performance, our indoor space in the curling rink will be ready for you to join us for a great evening starting with happy hour in the beer gardens. This will give you a perfect chance to unwind from the day and catch up with your family and friends about all of the moments captured throughout the day. Try some Scotch tasting with Delin and friends. If you haven't yet, be sure to check out Delin's blog post series: Drink a Dram with Delin. His latest blog post features the whisky's that will be available at GOTCHF.

A full course pig roast feast provided by All Seasons Pig Roast & Catering will be served at 5pm. It's important to note that tickets to the pig roast are offered EXCLUSIVELY in the All Day Package. These tickets had to be purchased in advance so we could notify the caterer so they are no longer available. However, there will be a food truck on site during this time as an alternative!

Finally, dance the night away with the live band, Cabot’s Crossing, at the family friendly Ceilidh (pronounced 'kay-lee'). Need we say more?

Take it from a couple of Newby’s, if you join us, you’re sure to have a great time!

Editor's Note:

More Event Details and Tickets can be found here:

Family and Group Rates are available. Email us for more information.

If you have any questions, email us at


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