Pipe bands march in the grand parade during the 20th Annual ScotsFest at The Queen Mary. The two-day event features authentic Scottish cuisine, music,
Pipe bands march in the grand parade during the 20th Annual ScotsFest at The Queen Mary. The two-day event features authentic Scottish cuisine, music, sword dancing, athletic competitions and highland sports, along with many displays and booths. (Brittany Murray / Staff Photographer)

Bagpipes, kilts and the Queen Mary - Scottish culture was plentiful at the 20th annual Queen Mary Scotsfest on Saturday.

The celebration continues today with more authentic Scottish foods and music, sword dancing, athletic competitions and highland games, a Grand Parade and live sheep herding exhibitions. | VIDEO

Highland games are held to celebrate Scottish and Celtic culture and heritage.

The Queen Mary festival was founded two decades ago by the owner of a Scottish heritage shop aboard the ship, in memory of her Scottish husband, said Everette Hoard, senior captain of the Queen Mary, who has been with the ship for 32 years.

"After her husband's death, she loved him so much so she created the festival in his honor," he said. "It's a bit of a love story; that's why it always takes place on Valentine's Day weekend."

Scotland is also the birthplace of the Queen Mary, 82 years ago in a small seaside town called Clydebank.

"So much Scottish toil and blood, sweat and tears went into her construction," said Hoard. "She is one of the most famous ships that ever sailed, with the exception of Noah's Ark and the Titanic for different reasons."

An array of kilts - all shapes, sizes and colors - were displayed as several authentic clans marched along the parade route.

"It's very personal. I'm very proud of our heritage and the history and tradition that goes behind it," said Kevin Conquest, a Phoenix resident and senior drum major of the highland games. "To be able to dress up and march with the bands and entertain the crowd is very special - very meaningful."

About 20 clans were out at Saturday's event, Hoard said.

A clan is a traditional social unit in the Scottish Highlands, consisting of a number of families claiming a common ancestor.

"This is just a first time out.

Lamont McLaughlan carves out a dish from Maple Wood during the 20th Annual ScotsFest at The Queen Mary. The two-day event features authentic Scottish
Lamont McLaughlan carves out a dish from Maple Wood during the 20th Annual ScotsFest at The Queen Mary. The two-day event features authentic Scottish cuisine, music, sword dancing, athletic competitions and highland sports, along with many displays and booths. (Brittany Murray / Staff Photographer)
This is the weekend that starts the whole season going, the whole pipe band competitive season," said Ann Gray, a bagpiper from Calgary, Canada. "It's an absolute brilliant event - tons of good pipe bands, lots of good solo players, dancing, and more."

During opening ceremonies, Long Beach Police Pipe Band Major and President of LA Scots Scott MacDonald, performed a tribute in honor of fellow Scotsman and fallen officer Jeremiah MacKay. The San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy was fatally shot Feb. 12 in a shootout with Christopher Dorner, the former Los Angeles police officer who launched a violent vendetta against Southern California law enforcement over the past two weeks before dying of a single gunshot wound, possibly self- inflicted, in a cabin near the Big Bear area.

The tribute also honored all officers recently injured or killed in the line of duty.

The festival continues today from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, visit www.queenmary.com/ scotsfest.

pam.hale@presstelegram.com, 562-499-1476,

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