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Update on 1/25/20 — The whisky tasting event has been rescheduled for Oct. 16, 2020

Earlier: Alexandria loves to celebrate its Scottish heritage. The latest such celebration is taking place later this month.

The Alexandria Sister Cities organization is holding its 8th annual Scotch whisky tasting event on Friday, March 20. “Early bird” tickets are currently on sale for $100.

“This annual fundraiser supports Alexandria Sister Cities Committee’s cultural and educational activities with Dundee, Scotland and Helsingborg, Sweden,” the event webpage says. “This festive and fun event is for a great cause and always sells out. Get your tickets now.”

More from a press release:

We Alexandrians love to celebrate our City’s Scottish roots and our First President George Washington. The Annual Sister Cities Whisky Tasting is the perfect event to do both! The Alexandria Sister Cities Committee, with assistance from the Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA), is hosting this year’s whisky tasting event on March 20, from 7-10 pm, at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 138 North Royal Street, in the very room where President George Washington held his birthday ball in 1789. George Washington, a distillery owner and whisky lover, will be there “in spirit” taking the Angel’s share alongside guests.

According to Sister Cities Committee Member and Whisky Tasting Event Chair Dana Linnet, “This is a festive and casual occasion where guests can unwind at one of Alexandria’s best parties and something out of the ordinary, different from other whisky tasting events. It could be date night, ladies’ night, lads’ night, or just a great night out with fun people from Alexandria, DC, Arlington and Fairfax, and sometimes Scotland! It’s a colorful, fun affair, so we encourage everyone to wear their kilts and tartans!”

The event features a full 45-minute VIP whisky tasting experience conducted by North American Whisky Ambassador Simon Broking and Beam Suntory’s “Protector of the Peat” Palmer Orlandi. Guests will receive a swag bag and their very own official Sister Cities Scotch glass, perfect for that nice pour of Laphroiag. Scottish fiddle and bagpipe entertainment will be provided by renowned musician, Peter Walker, thanks to sponsorship by the St. Andrew’s Society of Washington, DC., along with a fabulous dinner catered by Tasteful Affairs (to include non-meat options for Lent and vegetarians), wine selection, beautiful desserts by Pop-Up Patisserie and more. Non-alcoholic drinks will also be served. Linnet stressed that the Committee encourages party-goers to drink responsibly and arrange taxi, ride share, or designated driver transport to keep Alexandria and guests safe.

“We are truly fortunate to be able to keep the quality of the event high and the ticket price reasonable thanks to so many incredible sponsors who show up and show their strong support for our community. We couldn’t do it without their generosity,” Linnet added. Not to rest on their laurels from previous years, this one will be a “notch above.” The event will close with a raffle featuring a golf and lunch outing at the Army Navy Country Club, jewelry, a pedicure, tours, and other prizes. The proceeds of the event ticket and raffle will be used for scholarships for local students to participate in an educational program in Dundee this fall.

“We are so fortunate to have the support of our local businesses, OHA, and City Council,” Linnet says. It will be a great party that will bring everyone together. Tickets can be found on Eventbrite. Slainte!

Photo by Dylan de Jonge on Unsplash

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After being canceled last year, the 50th annual Campagna Center Scottish Christmas Walk Parade is back on Saturday, Dec. 4.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) will be the grand marshal at Saturday’s parade, which begins at 11 a.m. at St. Asaph and Queen Streets and ends in front of City Hall.

In the parade, dozens of Scottish clans march to “Scotland The Brave” and other favorites as played by the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums.

While the main attraction, the parade is usually the proverbial cherry on top of a weekend caked with Scottish-themed events that historically generates approximately $250,000 in revenues such for the Campagna Center’s Early Learning Center at St. James, it’s New Neighbors program and Building Better Futures program, among others.

The festivities begin on Friday at 6:30 p.m. with the Taste of Scotland scotch tasting, which will be held in the newly renovated Atrium building (227 S. Washington Street).

The event is sold out.

Attendees are asked to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19, which includes a photo of a CDC vaccination card or a confirmation email from a negative test result.

“Guests who do not bring proof of vaccination/test results will not be allowed into the venue,” the Campagna Center said. “To expedite the check-in process, you may email a photo of your vaccination card to [email protected] by December 1, 2021.”

The festival is not yet back to full strength, as cancellations still include the annual historic homes tours and the Campagna Center’s heather and greens sale.

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Get the kilts and bagpipes ready, this weekend is the Scottish Christmas Walk.

Scotland-themed events are scheduled throughout the weekend, kicking off with Taste of Scotland, an annual Scotch tasting on Friday, Nov. 6 from 6:30-10:30 p.m. at The Atrium (277 S. Washington Street). The event also includes Scottish beer, wine and food. Individual tickets are sold out, but sponsorship tickets are still available.

Also on Friday, the Campagna Center (418 S. Washington Street) is selling wreaths, garlands and fresh heather bundles to provide holiday decor from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

The parade itself is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7. The parade is scheduled to include representatives of Scottish clans matching with bagpipes, drums, dancers, reenactors and Scottie dogs. Local dignitaries, Santa and a selection of classic cars are also planned to join in the parade.

The parade begins at St. Asaph and Wolfe streets and ends at Market Square with a concert. The parade is scheduled to take place rain or shine.

Some of Old Town’s historic homes will also be open to tours during and after the parade on Saturday, with guides available to share historical information about the houses.

Photo via Scottish Christmas Walk/Facebook

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