Tartan Day Tea debuts at wine guild

By Jolene Craig

Special to the Times

BELPRE – Close to 100 people with Scottish and Celtic roots filled the Unicorn Wine Guild on Saturday for the first Tartan Day Tea.

“Scotland was introduced to tea in the early 1600s and made it their own,” said Barbara Whitaker, owner of the Unicorn Wine Guild in Belpre. “A lot of what we know as tea traditions were originated in Scotland.”

One of those traditions is high tea, which the English and Americans took and turned into a more formal affair than the typical Scottish tea, Whitaker said.

“Scottish tea, a high tea, is a normal evening meal,” she said. “High tea is actually a Scottish tradition and other nations have taken it over.”

Whitaker said Saturday’s event was missing the meat pie to make it a full high Scottish tea.

“Today we are serving a high tea lite,” she joked.

The funds from Saturday’s event will go to this year’s Scottish and Celtic Heritage Festival, to be held in Parkersburg’s City Park Pavilion on April 20.

“We are trying to introduce the community to Scottish and Celtic heritage,” said committee member John Dye. “There is a large number of the community that has Scottish or Celtic roots and don’t know about it; through the festival, we hope to educate people about their heritage.”

Dye said the Mid-Ohio Valley was primarily settled by Scottish immigrants and those of Scottish descent.

“If your family has been in this area for 50 years or more, you probably have Scottish or other Celtic roots,” he continued. “In fact, 75 percent of America’s presidents claim some Scottish descent and this country was settled by many Scots.”

This year’s festival on April 20 will include Scottish music, dancing and food, bagpipes, Celtic/Appalachian storytelling, children’s activities/games/crafts, Scottish Clan displays and heritage/genealogy; vendors and artisans will also be available.

“Along with entertaining the community, we hope to educate them about the Scottish people and where many of us started out,” Dye said.