HAMMOND — The community’s Scottish heritage was celebrated Saturday with traditional music, outdoor games, historical demonstrations and more.

After walking through the gate of a makeshift castle, visitors entered a laid-back festival that attracted a wide age range of people from throughout St. Lawrence County as well as seasonal visitors staying at Black Lake.

“I came for the bagpipes. I love them,” said Heather Planty, Canton. “My grandfather’s side of the family came from Scotland.”

Like last year, the event was held on the grounds of the Hammond Historical Museum, 1A North Main St.

Ms. Planty was joined by her 4-year-old daughter, Gwendolen Cutway, who said she liked the goats better than the sheep that were on display in a small petting zoo.

Many of the festival goers said they had ancestors from Scotland who settled in the north country.

According to historical records, Hammond was settled by Scottish immigrants 201 years ago. Many of the stone houses in the town were built by early Scottish settlers who had experience working with stone in their native country.

Several people walked around wearing kilts, including those who participated in a morning 5-kilometer run/walk.

Under a large tent, dozens of people gathered to listen to various performers including a bagpiper, a Celtibilly band, and fiddlers.

There was also a recitation of poems, Sottish dancing performed by a group of children from Hammond, and a performance by the Hammond Ukulele Group.

Daven Brigham, 25, Carthage, demonstrated Highland games such as the hammer throw, caber toss, and stone put.

“Farmers and tradesmen would get together and compete,” he said. “The stone put and the hammer throw were sort of the precursor to the modern Olympic shot put.”

As a member of the group Tug Hill Heavies, Mr. Brigham said he competes throughout New York and New England.

People had the chance to see a blacksmith, weaver and spinner demonstrate their craft. Wine tastings and a food truck added to the festivities.

Cranberry orange scones made by Theresa Hemmingway won a scone-making contest that drew five entries.

Vendors sold knitted hats, Scottish flags and items made from plaid fabric made in Scotland such as pillows.

Jamie Ipsen, one of the vendors, said her ancestors were among Hammond’s early Scottish settlers and she spends every summer in the community.

“They’re all buried in the cemetery. We are really rooted here,” she said.

Neil Nicols said his family members built some of the stone houses in the area. The festival started last year to celebrate the 200-year anniversary of the Scottish settlers. He believes having the festival every year is good for the community.

“A lot of people are curious about the Scottish history,” he said.

The event ended with the golf ball drop, a fundraiser that awarded cash prizes to winners.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


Have been a reporter since 1991

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