Just the Facts

Franklin marks Tartan Day

Avatar photo

Deena Bouknight

Last Saturday, April 6, the Scottish Tartans Museum and Heritage Center in Franklin celebrated National Tartan Day with food, facts, and fighting. On Main Street, a variety of scones were offered for sale, the museum presented flags and education, and historic reenactors practiced battle techniques with pretend swords. 

In the 1990s, National Tartan Day became a day during which to celebrate Scottish heritage in the United States. America, and especially Western North Carolina, has strong ties to Scotland due to the migration of Scots and Scot-Irish that came here from 1680 to 1850. April 6 was chosen for the annual celebration because that is the date Scottish King Robert I, commonly known as Robert the Bruce, signed the Declaration of Arbroath – a letter written by the barons and whole community of the kingdom of Scotland to Pope John XXII. The letter asked the Pope to recognize Scotland’s independence from England and to acknowledge Robert as the country’s lawful king.

SCOTTISH FLAGS were on display in front of the Scottish Tartans Museum in Franklin last Saturday.

During the Breacan Clann living history sword bouts and demonstrations, presented on the lawn in front of Town Hall, Daniel Williamson, curator of the Scottish Tartans Museum and Heritage Center, noted that the timing of National Tartan Day – to fall on a Saturday – worked out well for the local celebration. He pointed out that all over the United States, Scottish heritage was recognized, most notably in New York City, where a large parade took place. 

Anyone watching the sword bouts and demonstrations learned that participants, such as Chris Textor and Josh Ernst, were showing seven different ways to “cut” and “parry” with swords. 

CHRIS TEXTOR demonstrates in front of Town Hall how to “cut” and “parry” with a replica Scottish sword.

Local businesses participated in National Tartan Day, including Smokestack Café, which offered the public an opportunity to sample deep fried haggis balls, a Scottish dish; and, Kitchen Sink, which hosted a scone contest. Live Scottish music was provided by George Hasara and Heidi Hunter, who performed in front of the museum on Main Street. 

KITCHEN SINK hosted a scone contest and scones baked by local residents were sold at the National Tartan Day festival.

For people who missed National Tartan Day, the Scottish Tartans Museum and Heritage Center is open Monday through Saturday.