All Hail the Tartan!

Rob Roy is about as Scottish as they come. For one thing, there’s actual bagpipe music playing in the background when he talks on the phone. For another, he shares a name with one of the most famous Scotsmen of all time (famous enough, anyway, to have a cocktail named after him), and although he suspects some bloodline in common with the original Robert Roy MacGregor, he says “I can’t prove it. I’m a member of my mother’s clan.” That would be the Farquharson clan, a lineage he can trace back to the fifth century, and one of the twenty-odd clans representing at the Colorado Tartan Day Festival today.

A clan, by the way, is “basically a family, and if you’re even slightly related, you’re a part of it,” according to Roy’s definition. But you won’t need even that tenuous connection to participate in the Tartan Day Festival, a celebration of all things Celtic (tartans are the plaid patterns that represent a clan). There you’ll find vendors, food, educational activities and reenactors perpetrating all sorts of “old-time Scottish doings, like swordfights and pistol duels,” says Roy. There’ll also be a whisky tasting, and the whole thing tops off with a ceilidh. (“That’s Gaelic for 'party,'” Roy adds.)

Aside from the whisky tasting ($20) and the dinner/concert ($20 for adults; $10 for kids), Tartan Day events are free. The festival takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at McIlvoy Park, 5740 Upham Street in Arvada. For more information, visit
Sat., April 9, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., 2011

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte