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Burns Night: a reel of a time celebrating famed Scottish poet

Several tartans were seen during the Robbie Burns Supper in Truro Saturday. The event was a fundraiser for the first Colchester Highland Games and Gathering, being held in Bible Hill in September.
Several tartans were seen during a Robbie Burns Supper in Truro. - Lynn Curwin

Under 40 tickets remain to be sold for Jan. 20 celebration in New Minas

NEW MINAS, NS – Eating haggis, dancing to Scottish reels and celebrating a famous poet – this, and more, is on the menu at the upcoming Burns Night.

The event is 43 years young, and has celebrated famed Scottish poet Robbie Burns faithfully. It’s hosted by the Valley Scottish Country Dance Society, and will be held Jan. 20 at Louis Millet Centre in New Minas.

It’s a new location but the same classic traditions, according to organizer Keith Austin, who is himself a Scot, having lived just west of Glasgow his entire life before moving to Canada around ten years ago.

It’s an event he and the other society members hold dear, and is the highlight of the year for many.

“We’re hoping for lots of kilts and tartans to be out as we celebrate Burns, and Scotland,” said Austin.

Haggis, with champit tatties and bashed neeps – also known as mashed potatoes and turnip – will be served, along with a roast beef.

Toasts are given, celebrating, Canada, Scotland, Burns and even the food, with the renowned Address to the Haggis being an event staple.

And as for those who feel their stomachs churn at the mention of the dish, Austin recommends keeping an open mind.

“The only people who don’t like haggis are those who’ve yet to try it,” he said.

Traditional Scottish dancing follows the meal. Leaders call out the dances so people of all levels wanting to dance can follow.

Austin said the dancing is often the most popular portion of the night, with people young and old getting up to participate, regardless of their ability.

“It’s pandemonium done right,” he laughs.

Tickets for the event are selling out fast, with less than 40 remaining. The event will start promptly at 5:00 p.m., with the meal beginning promptly at 6:00, with dancing following between 8:00 and 8:30.

Tickets for the event are $30, and can be purchased by contacting Rob Raeside at 902-542-7767 or email at

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