All things Scottish...and pizza
Editor's note: TOC staffers don't just sit in their ivory tower writing listings and cracking wise about Chicago culture. They also spend time in the street festival trenches. If you're out and about this weekend, you can find our Around Town department judging two distinguished competitions:
I get enormous, body-gripping cravings for pizza. So judging the deep dish competition at last year's Pizza Fest seemed like a deliciously grand idea. The first slice sated my grease-filled desires. Then they kept on coming, and coming...and coming. About 36 slices later I had consumed twice my body weight in cheese, tomato paste and toppings. I nearly hurled (check out my queasy face) and vowed to steer clear from the pie. But about a week later I was back onto the ‘za. And a full year later I’ve acquiesced to judge the second annual Pizza Fest (2300 block of N Racine St at Fullerton Ave) contest tomorrow at 3pm. Lest we judges face another possible injury from lactose intolerance, they’ve cut the judging duties down to three categories from last year's five. And I say bring it on. What will I be saying tomorrow? Come find out. - Madeline Nusser
If pizza’s not really your thing, the St. Andrew Society’s 22nd annual Highland Games and Scottish Festival kicks off today and wraps up tomorrow at the Oak Brook Polo Grounds. If you show up Saturday, you might see me there strolling the grounds to taste the haggis, stomp my foot to Celtic music acts, wince at the telephone pole-throwing might of the Scottish Heavy competitors, and of course, squeeze the knees of about 50 men in kilts.
The latter is part of the fest’s second annual Knobbly Knees Contest, a competition slated for 3:15pm tomorrow that benefits the Scottish Home, an assisted living center for the elderly in North Riverside. With thoughts in mind of a good cause, men in kilts and a haggis-throwing contest, I enthusiastically accepted an offer to judge the contest—only to realize I wouldn’t know a knobbly knee if it kicked me in the shin. A few Google searches later, I now know that this type of knee assessment is a fairly common British pastime, especially at holiday resorts. In fact, UK tabloids such as The Sun and Daily Mail publish frequent critiques of the knobbly-ness of celebrities’ knees, not unlike the way American tabloids might judge celebrities’ cleavage or swimsuit thighs. (Click the links for a look at Kate Moss’s and Mischa Barton’s respective knobblies).
The Scottish Fest’s contest judges the kilted lads based on what they have to offer below the kilt line, but charisma and crowd-rocking, too. I just hope no one asks me if their kilt makes them look fat. - Martina Sheehan