Clover celebrates Scots-Irish heritage at Saturday festival

news@enquirerherald.comJune 10, 2011 

  • What: Feis Chlobhair, Clover's Scottish games and Scots-Irish festival.

    When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

    Where: Memorial Stadium, Clover.

    Admission: Free.

— Clover will celebrate its Scots-Irish heritage this weekend with the music of pipe bands, the pageantry of Highland dancing and the fun of border collie demos and Scottish heavy athletics.

The annual Feis Chlobhair -- a Scottish games and Scots-Irish festival sponsored by the town of Clover and the Greater Clover Chamber of Commerce -- will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Clover Memorial Stadium.

The event is in its 15th year, said organizer Carla Pendleton, who said the event began because most of the people who settled in the Clover area in the 1700s were Scots-Irish.

Favorite events, Pendleton said, include the border collie demonstration, bagpipe bands, Celtic music and food and merchandise vendors. Bill Coburn and his award-winning dogs will present the Border collie demonstration.

Scott Medlin of Catawba, N.C., athletic director of Scottish Highland games across the region, including the one in Clover, said Saturday's event includes a scheduled visit by a professional heavy athlete, Eric Frasure, who plans to give a demonstration.

"It's fun, it's good camaraderie between the athletics, and people encourage one another," Medlin said of the sport. "They've gotten caught up in the ancestry, and some of them just think it's neat to throw heavy objects."

Medlin said there are all kinds of stories about how each of the events got started. "Some of it is tied to war implements," he said. "I've got about three or four stories on each event."

The seven heavy athletic events to be presented in Clover, he said, include the stone throw, or clachneart; heavy and light weight throws; and the hammer throw, which involves tossing a 22-pound ball on a 50-inch shaft.

The fifth event, the turning of the caber, involves throwing a pole that is up to 20 feet long. The last two events are the sheaf toss, which involves throwing a 16- to 20-pound sack of rope; and the weight over bar, in which athletes must toss a 56-pound weight over their head and over a bar.

"The women refer to that as the widow maker," Medlin said of the weight over bar.

He said the event will feature two groups of athletes, advanced and beginners. The advanced group, he said, includes four or five of the top 20 Scottish heavy athletes in North America.

Saturday's event also will include piping and drum exhibitions, genealogy and clan tents, Celtic merchandise, children's activities, food and local vendors and live entertainment by Stirling Bridge, a four-member band which blends classic bagpipe sound with Carolina rock 'n' roll.

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