The Clan Currie Society Kicks Off Tartan Week 2006 With Fifth Annual Observance of Tartan Day On Ellis Island
The Clan Currie Society returned to Ellis Island in April 2006 to host their annual National Tartan Day program in celebration of the emerging holiday recognizing the centuries of Scottish heritage in the United States.
The festivities began even before visitors stepped off the ferry boats to the skirl of pipers from the St. Ann’s of Hampton (NJ) Pipe Band. Once on Ellis Island, Tartan Day guests were treated to still further outstanding entertainment by fiddler Lisa Gutkin, the Caledonian Highland Dancers, Scottish storyteller and folksinger Jeslyn Wheeless and John Grimaldi, the Kilted Juggler.
The Caledonian Highland Dancers Perform on Ellis Island
Robert Currie, president of the Clan Currie Society and Chairman of Tartan Day on Ellis Island, gave a brief history of National Tartan Day, which was created by Senate resolution 155 in 1998 as a way to “remember and reflect on the vast contributions of Scots and Scottish Americans.’s
“We are honored to be returning to Ellis Island for this annual observance of National Tartan Day and to be kicking off a whole host of Scottish heritage events which will take place throughout New York. I encourage you to take advantage of all Manhattan has to offer in the days ahead.’s
Fiddler Lisa Gutkin
During his remarks, Currie also read a letter of greetings from the White House. In his letter, the President noted the important role of the Scottish people have played in the United States.
“Scotland and the United States are intimately linked through deep historical and cultural ties. For generations, the sons and daughters of Scotland have come to America with a spirit of determination and optimism that has helped shape our Nation’s character and enriched our history.’s
In addition to their program on Ellis Island, Clan Currie played an active role in many of the New York Tartan Week activities; including the highly-popular “Dressed to Kilt’s fashion show featuring NBC’s “Today’s show news anchor and fellow clanswoman, Ann Curry and the annual Tartan Day parade up Sixth Avenue.
Clan Currie was also exceptionally well represented at the Scottish Village at Grand Central Station. Charles Currie of the National Trust for Scotland was on hand to outline the many activities of the Trust, including plans to build a new state-of-the-art Visitors Centre at the Culloden Battlefield. With Currie’s assistance, the Society’s documentary film, “The Crafter’s Songs’ was also screened for visitors to the Village.
Other Tartan Week highlights included a concert sponsored by the British Memorial Garden; the US debut of the popular Scottish rock band Runrig; the annual Whisky Live extravaganza at Tavern on the Green; and the US premier of the musical “Wee Geordie’s performed by the Scottish Youth Theater company.
Across the Hudson River in New Jersey, the Society also coordinated with Governor John Corzine to proclaim April 6 as Tartan Day in the Garden State.