The red carpet of Glengarry
Perhaps the most resplendently dressed people at Thursday evening's Tartan Ball, which took place at the Metcalfe Centre, Maxville were Lt-Colonel Ryan Hartman along with several other members of the SDG Highlanders.
That's not an understatement as the Tartan Ball is a formal affair -- what the Academy Awards might look like if they took place in Scotland. The men wear tuxedo jackets and kilts, the women wear evening gowns with tartan sashes. The Highlanders wore kilts and dinner jackets as red as the Mounties' trademark uniform.
According to Captain Mike McDonell, a 29-year-old Apple Hill native who has been with the Highlanders since he was 18, the Cornwall-based regiment bought 10 tickets -- an entire table -- as Games President Lindsay MacCulloch had asked Lt-Colonel Hartman to be the guest of honour at the ball. LtCol. Hartman spoke briefly about the efforts of the SDG Highlanders during D-Day, which took place 75 years ago.
Although Burton Thomas lives in Syracuse, NY, he has grown intimately familiar with Maxville over the past three decades. Mr. Thomas, a 73-year-old retired architect, has been coming here for 27 years simply to attend the Highland Games.
“We keep coming back because of the people,” he says. “We love the music and the atmosphere, but it's the people who put it on that makes it so wonderful.”
A long time ago, Mr. Thomas attended Games in Syracuse and fell in love with the pipes. His wife had a work colleague who was also a piper. “She told me that if I like the pipes, I had to come to Maxville.”
He says his favourite part of the Games is attended in the piobarecahhh gold medal competition.
Mr. Thomas was at the Tartan Ball along with his wife, Kris Waldron, and friends John and Maureen Goodman.
round of drinks for Jacques Gendron and his partner, Josee Fraser, shortly after learning that the former is Founder President of Canadian Vietnam Veterans. The two hail from la Prairie, PQ. They attended the Games, and the Tartan Ball, as Ms. Fraser is exploring her Scottish roots. Her family is from Inverness.
This year marked the couple's first time at the Glengarry Highland Games. Although the visitors have seen them on television before, both confessed that they had no idea what to expect
now that they were here.
As for his tours of duty in Vietnam, Mr. Gendron says that he moved to the United States so he could learn English. While there, he joined the army and, when the Vietnam War started, he went along with that.
Tara Stewart, 21, of Casselman, was also making her Tartan Ball debut. She said she was urged to go after her mother, Joy, attended the event last year and had a wonderful time.
“She asked if I go and I said
yes,” Miss Stewart reports, adding that it made for a wonderful bonding experience.
As luck would have it, she was sitting at the same table as Missisauga resident Ruth Fritz, who was also making her Games debut. She was attending the ball with her son, Howard MacDonald, who says he’s been trying to get his mom to Maxville for years.
Mr. MacDonald says that his father, Don, was a drummer back in 1954 with the Cameron Highlanders.
AT THE BALL: At left, Burton Thomas and his wife, Kris Waldron, may live in Syracuse, NY but they are longtime fans of the Glengarry Highland Games. In fact, Mr. Thomas says he’s attended the Games 27 years in a row. They are shown at the Tartan Ball along with friends John and Maureen Goodman. At right, 21-year-old Casselman resident Tara Stewart, attended the Tartan Ball for the first time. She is flanked by Howard MacDonald and his mother, Ruth Fritz, who was also attending the ball for the first time ever. Incidentally, the sash Miss Stewart is wearing is made of Royal Stewart tartan.
DRESSED IN RED: Captain Mike McDonell, Captain Thomas Jancarik, Lt-Colonel Ryan Hartman, Officer Cadet Carson Andrews, Second Lieutenant Justin Towndale, and Captain Bradley Nutley, all of the SDG Highlanders, attended Thursday’s Tartan Ball.