MAPLETON, Minn. (KEYC) — Mapleton is kicking off its annual celebration of the life of Scottish poet Robert Burns Saturday.
Every year, celebrations honoring 18th-century Sottish poet Robert Burns are held across the country and perhaps worldwide.
The 144th Robert Burns Celebration in Mapleton taking place this Saturday is something the community takes pride in.
“It has been running that long, and as far as we know, it is the longest-running heritage program in Minnesota. We’re very proud of that," says Maple River Burns Club President Jeanne McCabe.
The town, which was founded by Scottish immigrants, honors Burns and celebrates his life with tartan dancers, bagpipes and a reading of Burns' poetry.
“There’s a lot of tradition and a lot of people who are a part of that tradition, and the families that are a part try to carry it on,” says McCabe.
The celebration also includes the crowning of this year's Miss Bonnie Lass.
“It goes along with the heritage of Mapleton and the Scottish heritage," says 2019 Miss Bonnie Lass runner-up Madison Wills.
“Hence the kilts,” says 2019 Miss Bonnie Lass Ellie Wilde.
When settlers first came to Mapleton, they brought the old sport of curling with them. Included in Saturday's celebration is the Burns bonspiel - a curling competition.
“One of the things they would do is they went out on the lakes and rivers and they would curl. And so it kind of started that tradition of the Maple River Burns Club and the curling that went along with it. So then we’ve had the Burns celebration for a lot of years,” says Jeff Annas of the Heather Curling Club in Mapleton.
With Mapleton being the curling capital of southern Minnesota, the Burns bonspiel, or “Burnspiel,” is looked forward to all year.
“If there’s an event that you would like to win all year round, it’s probably the Burns bonspiel,” says Annas.
The celebration kicks off this Saturday in the AAA Auditorium at Maple River School.