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!”
D.in K.: “No… GOTCHF, it’s short for Gathering of the Clans Highland Festival!”
U.P.: “Oh…I’m not sure, what is it anyway?”
D.in 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: