A CELEBRATION OF PLACE: Sometimes a celebratory moment is best experienced in an important location, like the birthplace of the honoree or another destination that holds some history. But transporting the Queen Mary back to the place where she first grandly came together -- the River Clyde, in Scotland -- might be a bit harder than springing for a train ticket for your best pal on his birthday or a plane seat for your mom on hers. After all, the Queen Mary is now permanently -- make that capital P Permanently, rather -- in Long Beach, California, where she has stayed, in very still fashion, since 1967 ("very still fashion"=moored for always). So whisking the Queen Mary away, to Scotland, for a surprise birthday weekend is definitely not in the cards. What is in the cards? Bringing the Scottish-sweet bash to her current location, which makes more sense, since sheepdogs can trot and bagpipe players can drive to the shore-close boat. The boat can't move, in short, but the moving weekend of Scots-tastic treats will once again jig it up over the middle of February, when a host of to-dos put on the tartans and celebrate one of the most famous ships in the land -- er, sea.
FEB. 13 AND 14... are the 2016 dates for a cavalcade of happenings that pay tribute to the ship's homeland. ScotsFestival & International Highland Games XXIII is very much about the traditional athletic displays one might see at a Highlands-based match-up, so prepare to see cabers and hammers and burlap bags and pitchforks and darts aplenty brandished. On the performance side of the equation look for the Scottish Lilt and the Highland Fling and all of that reverberating, feel-it-in-the-solar-plexus bagpipery. Ponies and sheepdogs and sheep have also made past appearances, too, and, yes, whisky and haggis are part of the sips and sustenance side of the soiree.
THE QUEEN MARY... will not be sailing back to Scotland to party (it might be easier to build a time travel machine and send her back to the mid-'30s, her initial era). But we can party, Scots-style, in honor of her long-ago location. Tickets? Toss your caber in this direction.