Happy 20th, Queen Mary ScotsFest

This annual shindig, a celebration of the ocean-liner's birthplace, grows.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Queen Mary
    Sheep-herding in Long Beach? It happens at ScotsFest. The Queen Mary celebration dons a kilt on Saturday, Feb. 16 and Sunday, Feb. 17.

    If you threw a party to commemorate where you started this earthly journey, what would it look like? Would you pay homage to your hometown's foods or history or symbols or style of dress? Would you incorporate traditions meaningful to your earliest days?

    A birthplace party is a rare and delightful thing, though we humans don't indulge in them often, or at all. But a moving, or formerly moving, landmark like the Queen Mary? A different story indeed. It will fete its first days at ScotsFest on Saturday, Feb. 16 and Sunday, Feb. 17.

    The docked-for-forever ocean liner didn't always call Long Beach home. It came together, bolt by bolt, on the shores of the River Clyde in Scotland back in the early 1930s. Hundreds of voyages later, it pulled up to California in 1967, where it became one of the area's biggest attractions (and a hotel as well).

    The ship's Scottish heritage will be on display in several ways throughout the weekend. Highland Games? Oh yes, in all of their rugged, throwing-of-heavy-objects glory. Sheep-herding demos? Woof woof. (That's "yes" in Dog.) Whiskey? Drams all around. Bagpipes? You'll hear them from several hundred yards away. And haggis? Aye. You've got to try it once, right? And you might like.

    ScotsFest turns 20 this year, and the team and organizations that gather to put it on have a commitment to both the ship and Scottish tradition that lasts throughout the year (several participants in the games compete all year long). It shows, too; this is a really lively festival.

    Call it plaid-a-riffic, if you will. Which reminds us: Did you know the Queen Mary has her own tartan? It's main color is blue, for the sea, but there's a story to every hue. Ask to see it at the on-board Scottish shop. It's a beaut.

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