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Feast on Celtic Heritage at Festival
Graeme Park expands upon its 16th annual music-centric event with more demonstrations, workshops and an eating contest.
By Theresa Katalinas
You’ve heard of hot dog and chicken wing eating contests, but what about haggis?
In the event you’ve never heard of haggis – much less eaten it – the folks at Graeme Park in Horsham plan to educate the masses on the ancient Scottish dish akin to scrapple as part of the historic site’s 16th annual Celtic Heritage Festival.
“Everything in a sheep goes in there,” John Seraphin, one of the event organizers, said. “They mixed in a whole lot of oats and flavor and spices.”
And the result?
“Quite frankly, it’s good,” said Seraphin, of Glenside, who is Scots Irish. “They usually have it on St. Andrew’s Day, which is the Scottish St. Patrick’s Day.”
The point, organizers said, is to bring the Celtic heritage and history to light in this all-day family festival. And while eating contests are an “Americanized” retelling of history and not traditional, according to Seraphin, the intent remains to help others embrace and understand the rich history of the Celtic people.
“It’s amusing to watch other people go ‘oh my God you’re going to eat that?’ ” Seraphin said. “We’re trying to make this obscene gluttony appear regal.”
Five people – chosen from individuals present at the time of the contest – will be selected for this eat-off, Seraphin said, adding that he’s certain they will have to turn would-be eating contestants away.
The haggis-eating contest is one of many new programs planned for the July 21 festival, according to Beth MacCausland, the event’s chairwoman and president of the Friends of Graeme Park. MacCausland said she was looking to expand the event – which in recent years had evolved into a music-focused festival – to include more history. Teaming up with Seraphin also helped in adding demonstrations of border collies herding sheep; Celtic linguists explaining the language; and the Scottish Highland games, featuring female athletes showcasing their herculean strengths.
“These ladies can throw telephone poles,” MacCausland said