Clans to converge during Scottish-themed festivities

Aug. 24, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

In a modern era dominated by impersonal connections, including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SnapChat, some area individuals still prefer the personal gatherings of family — in this case, a clan.

A Scottish clan, that is.

“These clans, since 1803, that have come over here have remained connected to certain degrees, some more than others,” said Ruth Gurtis, a member of a steering committee of 15-20 individuals who have been meeting monthly since January to plan events allowing Scottish clans to reconnect.

“I think it’s important to show families', or 'clans,'’ connections to one another," said Gurtis

Those events will kick off with a Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee), to be held Friday, Sept. 6 — beginning with registration at 6:30 p.m. The Ceilidh is just one part of the weekend filled with activities that will conclude on Sunday, Sept. 8, with homecoming worship, beginning at 11 a.m., followed by dinner on the grounds at Union Presbyterian Church, located at 2000 Union Church Road in Carthage. The Rev. Donald McDonald, from the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, will be guest preacher.

A similar gathering of Scottish clans took place in 2003 in the same location, and was a celebration of the 200th anniversary of Daniel Kelly’s arrival in America from the Isle of Skye. The 2003 event featured a formal celebration called a Ceilidh Tartan Ball. This year's event will be less formal and more family friendly. Wanda Howard, also a member of the event’s steering committee, said she believes “we have a very good program lined up for Friday evening, and it should make for an entertaining evening — Scottish style.”

The Friday night Ceilidh, which runs from 7 to 10 p.m., will be held at the Fair Barn, 200 Beulah Hill Road in Pinehurst, and is the only activity of the weekend that requires a fee to participate. The cost is $25 for adults and $10 for children 10 and under. Groups may reserve a “clan table” with seating for nine individuals. In addition to a catered meal, there will be Scottish piping, music, dance, storytelling and singing. Gurtis said the evening will be “exciting, entertaining, and there will be homemade cakes by the clans.” Howard added that the Ceilidh “will be a family affair and entertaining for all ages.”

Also providing entertainment will be the “Quick Silver Cloggers” from Robbins. This group has received many awards from competing throughout the state. Certified instructor Susan Daffron directs the cloggers, who have been invited to perform many times at the N.C. State Fair.

On Saturday, Sept. 7, registration begins at 9 a.m. at Union Presbyterian Church, with a worship service scheduled four miles away at the site of Union Presbyterian’s “Old Building." This year's homecoming at Union Presbyterian is the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the old building. Parking will be at the current church site, with transportation provided to the old building.

McDonald will be preaching at 11 a.m. A luncheon will be held back at Union Presbyterian at 1 p.m., followed by historical and genealogical lectures at Union and Eureka churches, and tours of local historic sites and cemeteries from 2:30 until 5 p.m. Saturday evening will be an opportunity for the gathering of clans, individually organized by the families.

The event's organizers request registration in advance for all events. Registration can be completed by going to Union Presbyterian’s website,, or by sending an email to

To learn more details about the celebration, or to purchase tickets to the Ceilidh on Friday evening, contact Gurtis at (919) 774-8839 or Howard at (919) 774-9661.