Tag Archives: Tartan Week

Outlander Fans Love The New York Tartan Day Parade

65ffe6f6-8529-40cf-984d-98ef3c49dda0At the American-Scottish Foundation, we take great pride in being a founding member of the National Tartan Day New York Committee, together with the St Andrews Society of the State of New York, the New York Caledonian Club, and more recent member Clan Campbell.

We work together to coordinate joint and separate events and festivities during the annual New York City Tartan Week, including the annual Tartan Day Parade, which is now the biggest event of its kind in the United States.

We love hearing from fans of the Tartan Week festivities, so it was great to see the enthusiastic response of Outlander fans at the 18th annual New York Tartan Day parade.


Image via threeifbyspace.net

Outlander is a time-travel television series based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon. It stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, a married World War II nurse in 1945 who is mysteriously transported back to Scotland in 1743, where she meets the handsome Highland warrior Jamie Fraser, played by Sam Heughan. Heughan was the Grand Marshal of this year’s parade.

With Sam Heughan leading this year’s Tartan Day Parade, Outlander fans flocked to New York this year in even greater numbers than were with us last year when Graham McTavish, another great actor from the series, was Grand Marshal. It was no surprise that many Outlander fans came and participated in the parade from all over the Unites States Britain and Europe.

cfe5cb3e-9882-479b-b247-6a0136c8fdc1Over 450 members of the fan group Outlander United marched in the parade, while thousands lined the streets just hoping to catch a glimpse of Heughan. Scotland Now calls the Outlander effect in New York the nearest thing to “Beatle-Mania.” All the American-Scottish Foundation can say is that it was wonderfuto see so many enjoying the Parade.


Image via tomandlorenzo.com

Image via tomandlorenzo.com

To hear first hand-accounts of the Tartan Day Parade from members of the Outlander United group, read this fantastic article by TiBS blogger and Outlander United member, Erin Conrad. It includes a slideshow of more fabulous photos from the parade.

We hope to see the members of Outlander United at next year’s parade. Mark your calendar now for Saturday, April 8th, 2017!

To learn more about the annual New York City Tartan Day Parade, visit the website, here.


All Aboard For Outlander

In 1998, April 6th was declared National Tartan Day.  Since then celebrations of scottish heritage and pride have taken place throughout the United States, and nowhere more than New York who top off a week long celebration of events throughout the City, with the annual New York Tartan Day Parade.

This years celebrations took on an added dimension as the hugely popular series Outlander, premiered their second season on the evening of the Parade – and the chosen Grand Marshal for the Parade was non other than the shows leading actor, Sam Hueghan.  Heughan plays the dashing Highlander, Jamie Fraser in the series.

Outlander fans were planning for months to come together in New York for the Parade and on hearing that Heughan was Grand Marshal the excitment grew.  Many of the fans have visited Scotland or plan to, and so the Scotland’s national tourism agency VisitScotland wrapped a double decker bus for the Parade with the image of the Callanish Stones and messaging, encouraging New Yorkers to book their tickets to the land that inspired Outlander.

Image via wired.com

Image via wired.com

The series is filmed throughout Scotland, and already after the first series, premier locations featured in the series have seen an increase in visitors.

Locations include Doune Castle, Culloden, Falkland and Culross, all of which have enjoyed a dramatic rise in visitor numbers.


Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Scotland Week is an opportunity for members of the Scottish tourism industry to meet with prospective visitors from the hugely important North American market, with events such as our Diaspora Breakfast always proving popular. Outlander has taken the world by storm and it is important that we capitalise on the continued success of a series in which Scotland really is the star.

“With its stunning imagery of the Callanish Stones, which are just like the ones that play such a pivotal role in the series, our bus is sure to be a big hit during the hugely popular Tartan Day Parade, which regularly attracts thousands of spectators. Hopefully it will encourage event more people to look into booking a trip to Scotland and explore the land that inspired Outlander.”

Outlander fans in New York during Scotland Week also enjoyed a special event taking place at NYC Beer Authority on the evening of April 8th. The Belhaven Brewery-sponsored gathering saw a number of Scottish businesses showcasing their Outlander-inspired wares, including jewellery makers Hamilton & Young, Walkers Shortbread, tour operator Mary’s Meanders and “Outlander Herbalist” Claire MacKay.

Outlander is based on the best selling series of books by Diana Gabaldon.

For more information on Outlander and Scotland, go to www.visitscotland.com/outlander

Sights from the 17th Annual New York Tartan Day Parade!

The 17th Annual New York Tartan Day Parade today was a smashing success. From the sounds of pipes and drums at the pre-parade concert at Bryant Park to the Westies and Scotties of the Barbour Tartan Dog Pack to the over 300 Outlander fans who came out to support Grand Marshal Graham McTavish, the day was a true celebration of Scottish culture and spirit!


Lanark and District Pipe Band at the Pre-Parade Concert at Bryant Park 


The Pipes and Drums of the Atlantic Watch at the Pre-Parade Concert at Bryant Park 


Members of the Barbour Tartan Dog Pack meeting each other for the first time!


Grand Marshal Graham McTavish and Honorary Grand Marshal Rt. Hon Tricia Marwick, MSP, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Government


The American-Scottish Foundation marchers!


Over 300 Outlander fans joined in the festivities!


Belhaven, the official beer sponsor for the parade!


A strikingly well-dressed parade goer takes in the sound of pipes and drums.


The Barbour Tartan Dog Pack


One of the members of the Barbour Tartan Dog Pack – a true model!


Many thanks to the Algonquin Hotel, our home base for the day of festivities!

Photos by Sara Heegaard

10 of the Best Big Apple Bars for Tartan Week

Celebrating Tartan Week in New York City this year? We hope you’ll enjoy some of the wonderful offerings of Scottish food and beverage the city has to offer, whether it’s stopping for a post-parade pint of Bellhaven or enjoying a meal at a gastropub.

ScotlandNow has put together a lovely list of their favorite places to get a drink in NYC that include several of ASF’s favorites – though if we’re naming names, we’d have to mention our highlight haunts The Craic – Irish/Scottish Pub and Biddy’s Pub to the selections! Take a look at a few of their selections and start planning the culinary side of your New York Tartan Week adventures.

The Shakespeare, 24 East 39th Street


The Shakespeare (Image courtesy of ScotlandNow)

For wonderful atmosphere, service, and the perfect pint and chips, look no further than The Shakespeare.

Caledonia, 1609 Second Avenue 


Caledonia (Image courtesy of ScotlandNow)

On Tuesday, April 7, Bellhaven Head Brewer George Howell will be hosting a Tap Takeover at Caledonia, but if you can’t make it then, stop by any time for a pint of Bellhaven on tap, or one of their over 180 varieties of Scotch!

Iona Brooklyn, 180 Grand Street (Williamsburg)


Iona (Image courtesy of ScotlandNow)

If you’re in the mood for music with your drink, Iona hosts Scottish Session gigs every Monday at 8:30 pm. Their urban beer garden is a wonderful location to kick back after a long day of sightseeing.

Jones Wood Foundry, 401 East 76th Street

Jones Wood Foundry (image courtesy of ScotlandNow)

Jones Wood Foundry (image courtesy of ScotlandNow)

A wonderful place not only to grab a drink but a full meal, Jones Wood Foundry is one of ASF’s favorite gastropubs: friendly and attentive service and wonderful cuisine.

Take a look at the full list, with photos, and read the article on ScotlandNow’s website.


March with ASF in the 17th New York Tartan Day Parade!

On April 11, 2015, join us as we march up 6th Avenue with pipe bands and dancers to celebrate our Scottish ties!


Let us know if you’d like to march with us!

If you are a Member or Friend of the ASF and wish to march with the American-Scottish Foundation please print out the image above or complete this form so that we can register you as marching with us.

The Parade starts at 2.00pm on April 11 at W45th Street and marches up 6th Avenue to 55th Street.

Please be in touch with any queries at asfevents@wwbcny.com


Letter from America – The Story behind Tartan Day

Alan Bain, Chairman of the American Scottish Foundation recalls the humble beginnings of the first Tartan Day Parade in New York, which was so small it took place on the sidewalk.

Alan Bain’s Tartan Day Parade in New York with Jack McConnell, Sean Connery and Mayor Bloomberg 

The concept of Tartan Day was introduced to The Scottish Coalition, which is group of six national American Scottish organizations that had been convened by “force of nature” Ms. Duncan MacDonald, in order to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Caledonian Foundation – of which she was a director and officer. Once described as “the first lady of Scotland in America” she called herself Duncan after her Scots grandfather because her father had anticipated a boy – and because another girl at school had the same name as her, Dorothy. Under the Scottish Coalition she managed to bring to get the many organizations that all had the same goal – to support Scotland.

Tartan Day originated in Canada. Its purpose was to celebrate the role Scots and Canadian Scots had played in the birth and development of Canada. The strategy resonated with the group assembled by Ms MacDonald as Scots and American Scots had a similar impact in the U.S. Of the 41 men who have served as president of United States an astonishing thirty-one have had at least some documented Scottish ancestry. That is a score of more than 75 per cent, and when compared with the less than 4.4% of the American people in general who are of Scottish descent amounts to an over-representation of more than 17 times! The Canadians picked April 6 as the date on which Tartan Day was to be celebrated since April 6, 1320 was the date on which the Scots submitted a petition to the then Pope urging his support of their determination to be free of English involvement in their affairs. The document, known as The Declaration of Arbroath contains such stirring language and powerful ideas that it served as a strong influence on America’s Declaration of Independence.

As part of the assembled group, The American-Scottish Foundation was tasked with initiating Tartan Day celebrations in New York City and chose to an annual parade. Accordingly, on Saturday, April 6, 1998 the first “Parade” was held. It took place on the sidewalk of Third Avenue early in the morning from the British Consul General’s office on Third Avenue at 52nd Street to the Dag Hammarskjold Park by the U.N. at First Avenue and 49th Street.

Despite its modest beginning, Tartan Day quickly became Tartan Week then Tartan Fortnight and continues to grow, taking on the form of a Fringe Festival where activities to suit most tastes take place. Today the Parade attracts a crowd of thousands including visitors from Scotland that add to the enjoyment of the occasion and Tartan Day celebration are held as far away as Argentina. Included in the annual Parade in NYC are a contingent of Scottish and West Highland Terriers, a variety of Pipe Bands from the East Coast and beyond and each year a contingent of bands and groups from Scotland.

What’s especially gratifying for those of us involved is the fact that the celebration of Tartan Day is now a National as well as an International phenomenon.


Alan L. Bain


Tartan Day Parade 2014

The Parade starts at 2.00pm on April 5 at W45th Street and marches up 6th Avenue to 55th Street.

Print out the form above or download it as a high quality PDF reply form and return it to us; or be in touch with queries at asfevents@wwbcny.com

Not marching with the ASF? Then here is where you need to go for general registration for the 2014 Tartan Day Parade, which is now open…