Published December 16, 2003
Volume 11, Number 12

Pleasanton - Blairgowrie-Fergus Sister City Organization Brings Cultures Together


The United States—and the Bay Area and Tri-Valley in particular—are a melting pot that encompasses the most diverse group of cultural backgrounds in the world. Though, as Americans, we strive to embrace every imaginable culture, it doesn’t mean that we need to lose site of where our roots lay. In Pleasanton, a number of organizations strive for harmony between people of different backgrounds, some of which take on the task of making Pleasanton a “Sister City,” with community connections to other parts of the world.

The purpose of the Pleasanton-Blairgowrie-Fergus Sister City Organization is to promote understanding and friendship between the citizens of Pleasanton and Blairgowrie in Scotland and Fergus in Ontario, Canada and their respective regions, and to encourage and facilitate the exchange of people and culture between the communities.

The Pleasanton-Blairgowrie-Fergus Sister City Organization will be celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2004. “A lot of our members are of Scottish descent,” says Malcolm Carden, president of the Organization. “As for as the connection with Fergus, they have a ‘Highland Games’ in August, and Blairgowrie has a similar competition in September. There’s a Scottish link between the three towns.” The Highland Games, which is a major event in Pleasanton each year, features such activities as “tossing the caber,” a log which weighs in at around 150 pounds. Other activities involve throwing large stone weights over a bar and throwing a hammer for distance. Events that are not directly related to physical strength include sheep dog trials and Pipe Band competitions. The annual Pleasanton Highland Games are put on by the Caledonian Club of San Francisco, one of the largest and oldest Scottish organizations in the Bay Area.

“The major activity that we do in terms of cultural exchange is in that we sponsor a student exchange every year,” Carden says. “We sent two students to Blairgowrie this past summer and they sent two of their students over here. Other than that, we do a lot of activities locally involving Scottish games.” Currently, the Pleasanton-Blairgowrie-Fergus Sister City Organization is in the process of organizing its annual “Burns Supper,” a formal dinner dedicated to honoring Robert Burns, one of the leading Scottish poets. Each year, the Organization draws about 250 people to the event, which will take place January 31st  2004.

The Pleasanton-Blairgowrie-Fergus Sister City Organization is a social group open to any and all who are interested in joining, though its membership consists mostly of those of Scottish descent. For more information on the Pleasanton-Blairgowrie-Fergus Sister City Organization, contact its president Malcolm Carden, at mcarden@ix.netcom.com.


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