Vineyard Scots celebrate the birth of Robbie Burns

And the men wore skirts, of course.


Winter storm Jonas postponed the 29th annual Burns Nicht Supper by 24 hours, but members of the Scottish Society of Martha’s Vineyard were on hand Sunday evening at the Harbor View Hotel to celebrate the Bard of Scotland’s 257th birthday.

The festivities got underway with the Procession of the Haggis. Piper Tony Peak led the way into the banquet room, followed by Harbor View executive chef Caleb Lara and several Scottish Society board members.

Former Society president and founding member Robert MacKay gave the Ode Tae a Haggis via a videotaped presentation and slide show.

Master of ceremonies Chris Scott presided over the raffle and live auction, assisted by Society vice-president Steve Ewing, Colin Ewing, Betsy Llewellyn, and Brenda Wallace. Among the raffle items were several bottles of single malt scotch; tartan scarves, neck ties, hats and stockings; plaid shirts; a Scottish shawl; and a 100-year-old Robert Burns print. Live auction items included an evening sail and dinner for four aboard the Rasalhague, a 31-foot Cape Dory Cutter owned and sailed by board member Rick Hamilton; an Edgartown Harbor tour on the work boat Loyal and a sail on the catboat Ocmulgee, both donated by Steve and Claudia Ewing; and a Scottish jacket, kilt, and sporran, donated by Betsy Llewellyn. Proceeds from the auction benefited the Scottish Society of M.V. scholarship fund.

The traditional Scottish dinner featured haggis, cock-a-leekie soup, baked finnan haddie, beef and vegetarian shepherd’s pies, chappit tatties and bashed neeps, with trifle for dessert.

Following the feast, Dr. James Butterick toasted President Barack Obama and Rick Hamilton raised a glass to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as guests sang the “Star Spangled Banner” and “God Save the Queen.”

Elizabeth St. John Villard narrated a toast to “The Immortal Memory” with songs by the Internationally Acclaimed Scottish Society Singers under the direction of Philip Dietterich.

Nathan Lopes gave the “Toast to the Lassies” as the laddies in the ensemble sang “A Red, Red Rose.” Donna Blackburn returned the favor, toasting the laddies as the lassies responded with “Comin’ Through the Rye.”

The evening came to a close with stirring renditions of “The Flower of Scotland,” “Auld Lang Syne,” sung by Dorian Lopes and “Amazing Grace,” performed by Tony Peak on the bagpipes.