DUBLIN — Lu Mil Vineyard has landed a unique and new festival for Bladen County, one that is expected to be an authentic event and have a robust economic affect on the region.
On Oct. 28-30, Lu Mil will be the setting for the first-ever Carolina Caledonian Fest: A reunion 275 years in the making.
“The focus of the new festival will be the history and heritage of the Gaelic speaking Highlanders who settled North Carolina’s Cape Fear Region, not the customary and farcical portrayal of Highland culture,” said Allen McDavid, a representative of AKA Entertainment & Media, which will be producing the event.
McDavid added that the Carolina Caledonian Fest’s goal of historical accuracy will be aided by the participation of Michael Newton, a Gaelic scholar and author, along with the Scottish Gaelic Foundation of the USA, which will be a financial beneficiary from event proceeds.
Caledonia is the name given to Scotland by the Romans when they occupied Britain, and the festival will aim to feature the history of the 18th century Highland Scots.
“All this, the reason for bringing the festival to Lu Mil, is because Bladen County is the Mother County with a history of Scottish settlement,” said Carla Ward, marketing director for Lu Mil. “We wanted to bring something here that focused on the education and Scottish heritage— as well as bring in tourism.
“The Carolina Caledonian Fest will be an authentic even that will certainly have a positive effect on the area’s economy,” she added. “It will also give a realisrtic portrayal of the Scottish Argyll Colony.”
About the Argyll Colony
In 1739, a group of 350 emigrants from Argyllshire, Scotland, arrived in Wilmington and settled along the banks of the Cape Fear River, all the way to present day Sanford. The Argyll Colony was the most significant assemblage of Gaels in America, and, during the next 100 years historical estimates claim that 160,000 eventually came to North Carolina. The Scot’s new largest communities, Campbellton and Cross Creek merged to become Fayetteville.
Thousands of descendants of the Argyll Colony still reside in the Cape Fear area today. Names like Campbell, McLeod, McDonald and McNeill are but a few that can be tracked back to strong, resourceful, independent and proud people of the Colony. All of those descendants are encouraged by McDavid and Ron Taylor, owner of Lu Mil Vineyard, to use the Carolina Caledonian Festival as a backdrop for creating a new family tradition.
“During the festival there will be vendors, artwork, Scottish games, food, whiskey tastings, Celtic music and clan reunions,” Ward said. I think the venue wlil be a perfect setting for all of this.”
Why Lu Mil Vineyard?
During the days of the Argyll Colony, Bladen County (the “Mother County” and home to Lu Mil Vineyard) included the Cross Creek settlement within its borders. Now that portion of Bladen County is a part of Cumberland County. So, it’s only fitting that Bladen County play host to the festival.
According to McDavid: “The vineyard thrives with acres of bountiful fields overflowing with lush Muscadine grape vines adjoining rolling hills covered by green lawns and beautiful pines. Situated just outside the little town of Dublin, Lu Mil Vineyard is a virtual paradise: The perfect location for a Scottish festival.”
McDavid thinks the three-day festival will draw participants from several states away and attendees from at least a 100-mile radius, many who will spend at least one night in the area.
“We want to have a positive cultural and economic impact on Bladen County and the surrounding area for years to come,” McDavid said.
“This will be unique among Scottish festivals in that it will pay homage to Scottish descendants still living in the region and fully represent the accomplishments of their ancestors since arriving in North Carolina,” Ward said.
Tent and RV camping is available on-site in addition to nine beautiful cabins for rent. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed in eighteenth century attire, whether it be Scottish, Colonial American, British or other. Admission tickets for the festival can be purchased in advance online at www.CaledonianFest.com.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.