Everyone is invited to be Scottish for the day at the River Region Scottish Society’s St. Andrew’s Day Dinner on Nov. 21 at the Millbrook Civic Center.
Kilts, tams or plaid attire are encouraged but nice casual dress is accepted to celebrate the presentation of the haggis.
Millbrook’s Brannon Bowman and his wife, Carol, will host the event, as Bowman is proud of his Scottish heritage.
“This is a wonderful way to honor where we come from. My grandmother traced our family tree back to Scotland, and my son and I got very interested in the culture. We started competing in Scottish games. My son even wore his kilt to his senior prom,” said Bowman.
While he is convinced almost everyone could somehow be tied to Scottish ancestry, Bowman said, the event is open to anyone.
It’s appropriate for the event to be held in Millbrook as Lanark is named after the Scottish town, which was the home of William Wallace, a leader in the First War of Scottish Independence.
The event will benefit the charity organization Folds of Honor, which provides educational scholarships for the children of fallen and wounded service members nationwide.
“As an Air Force chaplain, I unfortunately have been the one standing on a front porch in my dress blues to notify a family that they’ve lost someone. I know that pain and that hurt,” said Bowman. “Folds of Honor is an organization that directly makes sure those dependents are taken care of.”
The connection hits even closer to home with Maxwell Air Force Base right around the corner.
Hannah Davis, who is a speaker for Folds of Honor and a former scholarship recipient, will be the guest speaker at the dinner. Three Alabama Folds of Honor scholarship recipients will be invited to attend.
“I think this is a wonderful thing for the River Region. And this dinner will be a great kickoff for the River Region Scottish Games we have coming in the spring,” said Bowman.
The dinner will be held at 6:30 p.m. and will be catered by Millbrook’s Bon Appetit. While the main dinner will be traditional banquet-style food, there also will be traditional Scottish dishes. Tatties (mashed potatoes) and neeps (mashed ruttabegas) are typical cultural sides that will be served with the meal. There also will be Scottish desserts, including shortbread.
“It’s kind of a mix of Scottish and Southern food,” said Bowman.
At 8 p.m., there will be the presentation of the haggis, a ceremonial tradition in Scotland. The bagpipes will play, and Bowman will read Robert Burns’ poem Address to the Haggis. Someone will theatrically carve into the dish and make it available for everyone at the dinner to taste.
There will be a cash bar on site, and tickets to the dinner are $30. Tables of eight are available for purchase, as well.
“The music will be lively and enjoyable. The band Hooley out of Birmingham is coming to play Celtic and Scottish music. We will have speakers, bagpipes – it will be a night of fun,” said Bowman.
This dinner will be the introductory event for the River Region Scottish Society, which will host the Scottish Games and Festival at Lanark in March, along with a Day at the Links. For more information on upcoming events, visit the River Region Scottish Society Facebook page or email Bowman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are available online at rrscottish.ticketspice.com/2019dinner.