Scotland or Hammond? Festival makes it hard to tell

Hammond Scottish Festival

HAMMOND, N.Y. (WWNY) - Fun was just a hammer's throw away at the second annual Scottish Festival in Hammond on Saturday.

Daven Brigham is coming off a hammer-throw state championship win.

He says competing is in his blood, but he's at the festival to demonstrate.

"Typically at bigger festivals it's harder because you're trying to keep time," he said. "You've got 10, 11 guys in a group, so you're trying to keep things moving along -- you don't have a lot of time to talk to the audience."

The festival was introduced last year. Organizers say it helped mark 200 years of Scottish settlers crossing through Hammond.

People celebrated again this year listening to traditional Celtic music, hearing poetry, and watching blacksmiths at work.

The Steel City Rovers come from Hamilton, Ontario, but say they aren't exactly sure how they got here.

"We don't actually know," one member said. "Quite frankly, it's actually a mystery."

But it sounds like they're enjoying their time in the village.

"People put us up in their home last night. We got to share some time playing music with people. They brought out their instruments, so it was an incredible time of sharing."

Donna Demick works with the Hammond Museum and helped create the Scottish Festival.

She says proceeds from the festival go toward much-needed expansion of the museum, which will one day hopefully include "a replica of a one-room schoolhouse. A stone one would, of course, be nice because, you know, the Scottish-built stone."

Brigham also has plans for turning throwing into something more.

"I'm hoping that either next year or the year after, if we continue to have the festival here at Hammond, I can grow it into more of a competition," she said

Time will tell if this Scottish salute becomes a north country tradition.

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