By Scott Peden
When news got out that the Annual Loch Lomond Celtic Games would not take place in 2014, the VWC wanted the community to know that the Loch Lomond Celtic Society is nonetheless still active. (Ann Singh Bowman, long-time leader of the Society, had contacted us to see if the Redwood Mountain Faire could use any of the Games’ equipment, which was gratefully accepted.) We felt that VWC members and friends would be interested in the Celtic Society, and asked Scott Peden for both background information and an update on its activities.
Here is his report:
“We ‘started’, conceptually, in Garth Duncan’s shop on Memorial Day 1994, while talking about doing a Games and a Celtic educational venture here in the San Lorenzo Valley during the Boulder Creek Art and Wine Festival in 1994. (Garth is renowned for his beautiful Celtic Jewelry and had a local shop back then.)
It was noted that the vast majority of names in the local phone book are Celtic, so there would likely be a good deal of interest. (Most people are unaware of where their ancestors called home in the old world, and many adopted English, since they’d already moved to England for work after the Clan (Family) systems had been destroyed in earlier times – but they can be traced back to Celtic Clans.)
Later in that year the core group that became the Board of Directors was formed.
We were a Celtic Society, with a lot of Scots in it. For background, you should know that the Celtic Nations include Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, The Isle of Man, Brittany (in France), and Galecia (Northern Portugal and NW Spain). Although the Roman Word for Celt is Gaul, the Northern Italians in Cis-Alpine Gaul (Celts on this side of the Alpines) have been there since Rome was a City State and were in control of only 3 other cities at that time. At the golden age of Greece, everything in Europe north of what is now Rome and Madrid, east of the Baltic and south of Stockholm was a consortium of over 2,300 different Celtic Tribes. So, we have ancestors in the hills of every nation in Europe…. just look for Bagpipes, and every country at the end of WW II that had a University.
Due to this history, it was very easy to be inclusive as we formed the organization; we have lots more in common than different. Each culture had added more to the overall richness as Clans played and danced and traded with Clans from other regions.
Our first Burns Supper was held at St Andrews Episcopal Church’s meeting hall (in Ben Lomond) in January,1995, another great contributor to our venture in our early days. The Loch Lomond Highland Games followed and were popular for many years, bringing in hundreds of visitors to, and competitors in, the unique games. The games were moved to the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds to more readily accommodate the growing crowds. Over time, increasing costs and other factors contributed to the decision to suspend the Games, but we will continue putting on local educational Celtic events like the Burns Night Supper and Whiskey Tasting, “a Night of Music, Food, Drinks, Friends and Poetry.” This coming January will be our 21st annual Supper. We are also planning some picnics in the summer months.
If you are interested in participating in the Celtic events, or supporting the Society, join our LLCS Yahoo Groups mailing list at firstname.lastname@example.org.”