As parents collected children dressed in brightly colored Tahitian dancing costumes, Heidi Wood played a traditional Scottish tune, “42nd Highlanders,” on the bagpipe.
The collision of cultures from across the globe was all part of the fun at the second annual Department of Human Services Multicultural Fair Saturday at Stewart Park, put on by the local Equity and Inclusion Committee.
Wood said she has been playing bagpipe for about 30 years, since she was 15.
“It’s the people, the people just love the bagpipes. That’s what really keeps me going,” she said.
Wood’s maiden name was Lamb, and her family discovered that was shortened from the Scottish name Lamont. On Saturday, Wood wore a blue and green kilt in the tartan pattern of the Clan Lamont. Her bagpipe was also made with the Clan Lamont tartan.
Her musical talent began with a question from her father when she was a teenager.
“Dad out of the blue asked me do you want to learn how to play the bagpipes. I said well that’s crazy, but it might be fun,” she said.
Turned out, it was. Wood learned from a man who had been a pipe major in the military, and because of that she is most experienced in marching tunes.
“I’ve been told that I play old school,” she said.
She said this was her first year attending the Multicultural Fair.
“It’s just a neat little event to have. It’s fun for us. We like to dress in our family tartans and strut our stuff and share some of our culture that we’ve learned,” she said.
David Reeck and his wife, Sammy Yang, attended the event in the traditional dress of China, where she grew up and where they met.
Yang was wearing a silk dress called a Qipao that was popular in Shanghai between the 1920s and World War II. On the front was a phoenix. Reeck wore a black shirt decorated with gold dragons.
Yang said the phoenix is a traditional animal for Chinese women to wear, while the dragon is a traditional decoration for men.
When they met, Reeck was working in the automotive industry and was living in China. She was originally from the Hunan Province, but was working as a waitress in Shanghai.
Finding the woman he wanted to marry was a challenge, Reeck said. He looked all over the United States, Germany and Japan.
“It was very hard to find her. I had to live in China for 10 years, and then I found her,” Reeck said.
They wore traditional clothes Saturday so they could represent China in a positive light. They were recently visiting China and they said all the negative news lately about relations between that country and the U.S., such as the ongoing trade dispute, don’t really have anything to do with who the people of either country are.
It wasn’t even really much of a topic when they were there, Reeck said.
Yang said she misses China sometimes, but they do visit once or twice a year. She also really likes America. She said it’s really easy to move from place to place here. She also loves fishing in the river and crabbing on the coast.
Brie Moore of Roseburg attended the fair to watch her daughter Raegan Moore dance the Purple Tahitian Dance. Raegan, 8, has been dancing for five years and Brie Moore loved the performance and the vibrant colors of the costumes.
“I just love watching the girls. They worked really hard all year getting their dances perfected,” Moore said.
Josh Davies of Roseburg was also there to watch his daughter, Elena Davies, 5, dance. He said Elena practices at home every day. He said he thought the multicultural event was a great idea.
“I think it’s awesome bringing extra culture here and being able to see that,” he said.
Sarah Arico drove from Corvallis to watch her niece ReeAnn Abel, 14, dance. She had also discovered that one of her relatives was playing bagpipes at the event. She thought having a multicultural event was a great way to celebrate the unity of humanity.
“We’re all in this together,” she said.