Thursday, October 2, 2003

Visit Scotland with a trip to Middletown

By Nancy Young
Enquirer contributor

When: 6 to 10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday;noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Admission: $5 adults, free for children
Information: (513) 425-7707 or
MIDDLETOWN - It may be a little chilly for kilts, but that will be the garb of choice this weekend for some participants at Middfest.

The annual cultural festival downtown features a different country every year. This year's choice is Scotland, with a model of the Loch Ness monster, golf competitions, displays of traditional tartans, Scottish cooking demonstrations and an art contest.

A lengthy list of traditional Scottish entertainment is also planned, but every group performing in the Scottish style is actually based in the United States. Members of the Cincinnati Caledonian Pipes and Drums are among those scheduled for Sunday. Originally known as The Kilties, the group was founded during World War I by Scottish immigrant William Lorne Nimmo and now has more than 50 members.

Robert Reid, a United Kingdom native, is president and drum major for the group: "We were thrilled to be asked - a local Scottish-themed event wouldn't be complete without pipes and drums and performers in kilts," he said.

Middfest entertainment will center on Scottish music; but, in keeping with tradition, performers representing many cultures have been invited. The honor for farthest distance traveled goes to Halychyna, a group of Ukrainian folk dancers. The group was invited to Middfest in 2002, but visa delays prevented them from appearing.

"We very much wanted to take part in Middfest, and this year 14 of our 16 dancers secured visas and are here to perform. We arrived on Sept. 29 and have spent the week entertaining at local schools and colleges. We will dance each day of the Middfest festival," says Halychyna dancer Chuy Iryna of Ukraine. The group, founded in 1946, has recently performed in Holland, Turkey and Luxembourg and will travel next week to a festival in Los Angeles.

In addition to entertainment, Middfest features lectures by experts on Scottish culture, including writer Arthur Herman. He is the author of How the Scots Invented the Modern World: the True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It.

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