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Saturday, 9 April 2011

Scotland Week

Scotland Week is in full swing in America at the moment. It runs from April 3 – 10, and is a week long celebration of all things Scottish in the USA and Canada, with Tartan Day happening on April 6. It is a tribute to the 4.9 million Americans who claim Scottish heritage, and kicked off, this year, with the celeb-studded "Dressed to Kilt" fund-raiser at the Hammerstein Ballroom on April 5. The celebration of Caledonian culture, fabric, art, music, whisky and, most notably, fashion, was hosted by Sean Connery and featured many famed Scots.

Additionally, throughout Scotland Week, a pop-up shop showcasing hot trends from Scottish designers will be open at 939 Madison Ave.

But it will be “Braveheart” meets the hills of Central Park on April 10 as hordes of tartan-wearing runners take part in the eighth annual Scotland Run, which forms the finale to Scotland Week. The war paint and swords will be replaced by bagpipers, kilts and drums as they lead the charge for the 10K run through Central Park, which kicks off at 9 a.m. and serves as a qualifier for the ING New York City Marathon.

This year's event also will include a Scottish festival at Mineral Springs, featuring live music from Scottish band Skerryvore; smoothie bikes, a nod to Scotland's renewable energy credentials that allows participants to power their own blended smoothie, and traditional Scottish dancers performing Gaelic dances.

Other events worth exploring this week include:

* The U.S. premiere of award-winning Scottish playwright Douglas Maxwell's production, "The Promise," at the 59E59 Theater. The play, which runs through April 17, features one of Scotland's most well-known actresses, Joanna Tope, in the lead role.

* The Tartan Day Parade, on April 9 - yes, that's today! - brings together pipers, drummers and members of Scottish organizations and clans from across North America for a march down the Avenue of the Americas.

* The city's handful of Scottish restaurants will be running specials for those looking to get a taste of the highlands. For example, St. Andrews Restaurant & Bar will be running Scotch and Scottish fare pairings throughout the week. Also, Highlands, a Scottish gastro-pub, and Mary Queen of Scots, provide a taste of modern-day Scotland.

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