The haggis will be piped in and the pipers will be paid with full honours in Williams Lake on Saturday, Jan. 22.
The Scottish bard Robert (“Robbie”) Burns will once again be celebrated in proper style at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 139. The traditional Robbie Burns supper takes place around the world to celebrate the birthday and works of the famed Scottish poet.
The massively popular dinner, which has been held at the local legion since Murray Hume initiated the event, sells out each year, said Vivian McNeil.
While she isn’t sure which year it was initiated, when she joined the local legion in 1973 the event was already going.
“It’s a flashy night,” said McNeil.
But this year, the group assures any concerned fans that proper protocols will be in place and all health measures will be followed, with greater care taken to ensure patron safety.
“Our seating would be very limited,” she said.
While guidelines currently require a decrease of capacity to 50 per cent, the local legion will be further decreasing the numbers for the event, and will only have 60 tickets for sale.
All patrons will be required to produce vaccine passports, there will be a maximum of six people to a table and anyone not seated at a table will be required to wear a mask, and people will only be able to leave their table to use the washroom or purchase drinks from the bar.
“People don’t have to be afraid about being all crowded in there,” said McNeil.
The program will return to their set traditional program, with the highland welcome, the piping in of the haggis, the reading of the Burns poem “Address to the Haggis,” a dinner complete with haggis, roast beef, bashed ‘neeps (mashed turnips), green peas, and salad with some tipsy laird (trifle) for dessert.
Haggis is a savory pudding made of sheep heart, liver and lungs mixed with onion, oatmeal, suet and spices and boiled in a sheep’s stomach.
After dinner there is a toast to the Queen, some entertainment, poetry and piping and more. Then the 92-year-old Doug White will complete the night with The Star o’ Robbie Burns and Auld Lang Syne.
“Everybody that has a kilt, wears a kilt,” said McNeil.
The much-loved annual event was cancelled in 2021 due to COVID-19. Tickets are $35 for adults, $12 for children under 12 and can be purchased at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 139 in Williams Lake on 385 Barnard St.