Robbie Burns night in Battlefords a fun success

By Angela Brown
January 27, 2019 - 2:15pm

It was a great night for the Battlefords Highland Dancing Association Saturday and all lovers of Robbie Burns when Battlefords residents came out to celebrate the Scottish bard.  

The evening at the Alex Dillabough Centre in Battleford was filled with music, dance, and of course a little humour in honour of the great poet.

The event started with the piping in of the traditional haggis meal. Several Haggis puddings were made for the event. A full roast beef dinner was also served.

Kerilyn Voigt, from North Battleford, who has two children taking Highland dancing, helped cook the haggis - a type of sausage meal - that was prepared by a butcher in Edmonton.

Voigt said haggis tastes like a “spicy meatloaf.” 

The Haggis served for the supper was made from beef liver and heart, as well as oats, onion, salt and spice.

“It came from the time when the Scots weren’t the most well-off people generations ago, (and were) very agricultural based," Voigt said. "So this was just a really hardy meal that kept them fed and warm."

While not everyone enjoys haggis, Voigt said she quite likes it on special occasions such as Robbie Burns Day.

"It's a nice treat once a year," she said.



Voigt added Robbie Burns Day is "up there with Christmas as an annual event that we look forward to, and that we enjoy celebrating as a family."

The Prince Albert Highlanders Pipes and Drums band stirred spirits during the event with traditional Scottish music from the 1700s and 1800s.

Piper Michael McLaughlin performed the Robbie Burns poem the Address to a Haggis after piping in the ceremonial dish at the kick off of the supper.

"It (the poem) thanks the haggis for everything that is provided, in terms of the meal and what it represents to the Scots," he said. "It was a food of the common people. It was something everybody was able to eat, once the nobles took away the better cuts. "

McLaughlin said he loves to eat haggis himself too. 

"I look forward to having it in the Battlefords every year," he added.

About 40 dancers from the Battlefords Highland Dancing Association participated in the event.

Jamie Killoran, one of the dance teachers, said children can start lessons as early as age two and will continue to progress as they move up in their levels.

Students learn to perfect their skills the more they practise, the longer they take Highland dancing.

The event also included a mass fling so everyone could try some Highland dancing.

The Supper and Ceilidh night is the Battlefords Highland Dancing Association's major fundraiser of the year. Event co-chair Amanda Maunula said there was a good turnout with about 300 people attending.

"I imagine there are lots of Scottish heritage," she said, adding that she herself has Scottish roots also, from her mother's side of the family.

Maunula added the young dancers do their best to bring a little Scottish culture to the local community on Robbie Burns night.

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