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Opinion Letters Volunteers, merchants made ‘Taste’ a success

The 2013 Taste of Scotland and Celtic Festival was a huge success with an estimated 3,000-4,000 visitors engaged in a full day of activities. The success of this years returning festival is due in no small part to the community merchants, volunteers, entertainers, vendors, service organizations, church groups, and many unsung heroes who gave their time and energy to support the festival in innumerable ways. We thank the Town of Franklin for their immeasurable help through the TDA program, the Main Street Program, bill boards, use of the Town Hall council chambers, and the help of Linda Schlott, and Summer Woodard. We thank the chamber of commerce for their assistance through the TDC program, and the assistance of Linda Harbuck. We thank the directors of the Scottish Tartans Museum for their assistance and support with a special thank you to staff member Ronin McGregor. Our wonderful website was created and maintained by Jim Geary. A special thanks is due Bonnie Pickartz and her family.

Many thanks were earned by one of our honored guests, former Chief Robert Youngdeer of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee. His symposium kept the audiences enthralled with his retelling of his exploits as a Marine in WWII, his sojourn as Principal Chief, and his pride in his service to his country. Accompanying Chief Youngdeer was Eddie Swimmer representing the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, NC. He gave an enlightening lecture about the relationship between the early Scottish settlers and the Cherokee and other tribes in the Franklin area. We must thank Betty Merrill for arranging the introductions and meeting with Chief Youngdeer and Eddie Swimmer.

Thanks to Thad Osborne, Deputy Chieftain of the McGregor Clan in Knoxville, Tenn., also an honored guest. Deputy Chieftain Osborne brought the Honored Clan McGregor from Knoxville, and led the parade of the Clans in the festival parade.

Special thanks go out to our emcees Hal Chapman, and Donovan Justice. Donovan also served as Entertainment Coordinator. We owe thanks to his wife Kim also. Rev. Kim Justice is the new pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Franklin and performed her first Kirkin’ of the Tartans on Sunday.

But the most important folks to thank are the merchants, businesses, and residents of Franklin, and Macon County. Without their support and sponsorships this years Taste of Scotland and Celtic Festival would not have been the success it was. This was a true community endeavor. Mill Creek Restaurant hosted the Clan Gathering on Thursday night. Michelle Parker provided a delicious traditional Scottish dinner. The First Presbyterian Church held the traditional Kirkin’ of the Tartans on Sunday followed by their delicious traditional luncheon coordinated by Jim McInnes. This is an annual gift from the membership of the church to the community’s Celtic heritage. The First United Methodist Church provided their kitchen and Fellowship Hall for the volunteer luncheon on Saturday. Sue Ann McMaster coordinated the luncheon, and gathered volunteers to help prepare and serve the food. Sue Ann singlehandedly baked 300 scones for the luncheons.

Another highly anticipated event was the parade. Organized and promoted by Mike Swift and along with her assistants, Chris and Rick Harwell. Mrs. Swift told us there were more resident clan participants than any previous year. Many thanks are due the parade participants.

We never could have had the festival without the crew who organized and planned the placement of vendor tents and the massive food tents, put them up, and took them down. This crew coordinated by Lloyd Swift and John Fraser consisted of volunteers, members of the TOS Committee, members of the Friends of the Scottish Tartans Museum, LBJ Job Corps participants, and county jail trustees. We thank you for your hard work.

Many residents served on the organizing committee. Some are merchants or business people, some are members of church groups or service organizations, and many are members of the Friends of the Scottish Tartans Museum and Heritage Center. The success of the festival also rests on the shoulders of these hard working committee members who gave up a lot of their free time since last September. The volunteers from the community stepped up and offered their time and talents to the benefit of Franklin and Macon County, the festival, and its visitors. And they have agreed to continue for the festival next year.

There were so many who participated and contributed to the success of the festival that may not have been personally cited. You were no less important to the effort and no less appreciated.

On behalf of the Taste of Scotland Festival Committee, and the Friends of the Scottish Tartans Museum, we salute all of you.

Doug Morton, Event Chairman


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