Annual Robbie Burns supper to benefit Wellsboro Area Food Pantry on Jan. 26

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ALLOWAY, UNITED KINGDOM – JANUARY 23: People enjoy a Burns supper in the red room at Burns Cottage Pavilion on January 23, 2014 in Alloway, Scotland. People around the world will mark the 255th Birthday Celebration of Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns, born on January 25, 1759. Burns suppers, when the poem ‘Address to a Haggis’ is recited, are held on or near his birthday to commemorate the life of the poet and celebrate his contribution to Scottish culture. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

WELLSBORO, Pa. (WETM) – The 9th Annual Robbie Burns Supper and Poetry Slam, a lighthearted homage to Scottish national poet Robert Burns, to benefit the Wellsboro Area Food Pantry will be held on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 3 p.m. at Timeless Destination, 77 Main Street in Wellsboro.

Seating is limited to 30 at Wellsboro, and the cost is $40 with reservations required. Contact Tutak at 570-723-5049 or at legaltak@aol.com to make reservations or for more information. No tickets will be sold at the door.

“If you know what a Burns Dinner is, you may already be hooked,” said Pat Davis, one of the organizers at Wellsboro. “While haggis and “neaps and tatties” – turnips and potatoes – are traditional offerings, a regular menu is also included, closer to participants’ palettes,” Davis noted. 

“Haggis tastes better than it sounds,” said Davis. Lamb is minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt, mixed with stock and simmered in a casing for three hours. This year, in addition to the traditional haggis, a vegetarian haggis is also being offered. There will also be appetizers, salad, dessert, coffee tea and soft drinks. Dessert is Typsy Laird, a Scottish trifle made with sponge cake, brandy, egg custard, raspberries, banana and double cream. 

A toast of an excellent single-malt whiskey is offered by passing the traditional silver cup called a Quaich but no one is required to drink from it. A cash bar will be available.

Featured will be fun, fellowship, whiskey and haggis, all to commemorate Burns on the Sunday closest to his birth date, Jan. 25. He was born in 1759. Not only is he Scotland’s national poet but in 2009 was also voted “The Greatest Scot Ever”.

Burns Suppers started in Scotland in 1801 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Burns’ death on July 21, 1796. Over the years the date of this annual event moved to the Sunday nearest his birth date, probably because whiskey works better in January than in July. 

The haggis will be piped in with Tim Swan playing bagpipes, followed by a recital of Burns’ “Ode to a Haggis” by Larry Biddison before the meal. 

Traditionally, during the supper each attendee can choose to read a favorite, funny, short poem or story written by Burns, another poet or by himself or herself. The supper closes with a lusty singing of “Scotland the Brave” and “Auld Lang Syne.”

“Be prepared to laugh,” said Jim Tutak who along with Davis, Biddison, Charlie Messina, and Jerry Tutak are the perpetrators of the annual Wellsboro dinner. 

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