Tartan Parade Jams up 6th Ave.

12 Apr


The culmination of a week long celebration was proudly displayed up 6th Ave. at the 12th annual Tartan Day Parade where Scottish pride and culture shined like the warm sun after three weeks of raw early spring weather. Along 44th St. where the marchers were becoming anxious to step onto the parade route, pipers and drummers were rehearsing while a large crowd was gathering around the West Highland and Scottish terrier holding area.   Two of those lucky dogs would be pronounced winners of the dog costume contest. Rachel, dog lover that she is, spent more time with them and even said she was going to stay behind and march with them even though she left her dog, Marley, at home.  As always, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade as the crowd was eager to see the marchers and wave their flags. The revered Allied Forces Foundation Pipe and Drum marching band were the first pipe band out on 6th Ave. soon followed by this years Grand Marshall, Lord Provost of Glasgow Bob Winter and VIPs from both the sponsors and representatives from Scotland.  While it’s always great to watch an Army/Navy football game, its a nice change of pace to see the West Point Cadets compete against the US Naval Academy Pipes and Drums band. Edge – West Point.


A few costumes brought cheers from the crowd when Wonder Woman made her way up the parade route shortly followed by a group portraying the Loch Ness monster that could have gone to see a chiropractor prior to her appearance. The NYU Pipe and Drum band received some applause but a crowd favorite were the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing as they “Strip the Willow” in front of Radio City Music Hall.  All throughout the parade route, the many clans from both the US and Scotland were greeted with friendly applause as some gave out small gifts to children.  The crowd’s attention were all drawn to the parade of over 100 Westies and Scottish terriers walking their owners. That’s where I met up with Rachel again and a black Scottish terrier caught my eye. I said, there’s a winner and sure enough as we walked up to 52nd St. where the announcers were, Max was pronounced one of the winners.    

     Behind the parade of pooches, an almost heavenly sound was coming from a young band, the Bideford Youth Pipe  Band where the ages ranged from 10 to 18. These gifted and talented  group had saved up funds for the journey to NYC for a few years and we were quite fortunate to have them perform. The parade route was cut short by 3 blocks due to budgetary constraints so marchers assembled on 55th and continued the festive mood with spontaneous songs while the remaining crowd cheered them on enthusiastically. Mandy Inch, of the Bideford Youth Pipe Band explained the musicians are all good kids and have a genuine interest in preserving the heritage. Ian, one of the youngest musicians played his heart out for the crowd.  We hope they make the Tartan Parade in NYC an annual pilgrimage and help to make the young parade become more popular.  


 To see more photos go the “Photographs” link on the right column and

CNN link—http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-589289

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