Amy flies the flag for Scottish producers at NYC Tartan Week

Imagine spiralling New York skyscrapers coupled with the skirl of the pipes, highland dancers, Westies and everything Scottish in between – and it still doesn’t capture the magic of NYC Tartan Week!

So what is it all about? In 1998, the US declared April 6th ‘National Tartan Day’, recognising the contribution of those of Scottish descent.

In 1999, two pipe bands and a small group of Scottish Americans marched from the British Consulate to the UN – this was the very first parade.
America is home to around five million people of Scottish descent and April 6 was chosen as it coincides with the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, Scotland’s own ‘Declaration of Independence’.

It is a glorious celebration of the deep affinity so many Americans feel for Scotland and this year, tour guide Andy the Highlander and I were lucky enough to be at the heart of it.

Arriving a few days before the parade, we celebrated at the Launch Party and then attended the NYC Tartan Week Mòd, a Scottish Gaelic singing competition hosted by TV presenter Joy Dunlop. Congratulations to the winner Sean Heely and a special well done to WeeBox prize winner Catriona Geras.

The Caledonian Club Ceilidh is always a highlight with an appearance from the Shetland Vikings who showed up in such numbers that their arrival may have caused an earthquake!

The day of the 26th annual NYC Tartan Day Parade finally dawned with beautiful clear, sunny skies.

We were honoured to be invited to a pre-parade brunch at the Carnegie Corporation of New York by Kate Newburger for some much-needed fuel.

Andrew Carnegie is a unifying symbol of the purpose of NYC Tartan Week – to celebrate Scots and their contributions to the United States.

Then on to the parade – Andy and the Highlander and WeeBox were well represented, from our subscribers to our makers, Andy’s fans and followers, our 160-strong clan marched proudly and loudly down 6th Avenue to be greeted at the end by Grand Marshal, Scottish actor Dougray Scott.

The NYC Tartan Parade host Iona MacGowan is a dear friend and did an incredible job. She said: “Together, Andy, Amy and their WeeBox community embody everything we love about this celebration: friends, fun and pure Scottish spirit.”

One of our makers, Eilidh of EJ Designs, came all the way from the Outer Hebrides and said: “It was an amazing experience that I will never forget and great exposure for my small business. I’m thankful that WeeBox encouraged me to join them as I could not have done it alone.”

Drea, a WeeBox subscriber and winner of our ‘NYC Trip for Two’ competition said: “Words cannot express the gratitude that I have. You gave me the opportunity to walk in a giant parade to celebrate my Scottish heritage, one that I have honoured since I found out that I was Scottish.”

Tartan Day New York Committee President Kyle Dawson said: “We were thrilled to collaborate with WeeBox this year as one of the sponsors of our second annual NYC Tartan Week Mòd. Amy brought the same enthusiasm and passion she shares with the WeeBox Clan at the NYC Tartan Day Parade to our Mòd, elevating the experience for all participants as we continue to grow the event.

“It is the spirit of collaboration we continue to strive for during NYC Tartan Week – providing opportunities for businesses, creatives, artists, entrepreneurs and more on both sides of the pond to develop deeper personal connections with Scottish heritage in America.”

Overall, I think Andy the Highlander summed it up best.

He said: “NYC Tartan Week was everything we could have hoped for and more, the atmosphere, the people, the events and of course, the tartans!

“It’s such a special celebration of Scotland and it was such an honour to meet our supporters from all around the world.

“It’s so touching to see how much Scotland means to people from all around the world and especially those who have proud Scottish roots and ancestry.”