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Robbie Burns fans brave blizzard

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A mcblizzardy mcnight mcgreeted the mcguests for a Robbie Burns mcevening at the Belleville Club Wednesday. With snow starting in the late morning, it was a rolling, blowing full blown mcblizzard by early evening with city plows unable to keep up.

But still a mcsmall mccrowd mcgathered in the mcclub to spend an evening, and with a real Robbie Burns at that. Long time city veterinarian Robert Burns, past president of the club, was chairman of the event and pulled out all the mcstops to mcmake mcsure it was an authentic one.

The traditional cock-a-leekie soup was the first course, all of them prepared by Justin Gagnon, executive chef for The Boathouse. The second course was piggy scallops, bacon-wrapped scallops.

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A traditional piping in and stabbing of the haggis followed, plus the traditional address, performed by Burns himself, preceded by a toast to the haggis by Mark Turner.

The main course was peppered salmon with scotch whisky cream and a Cranachon cheesecake for dessert.

Attendance was much lighter than expected, but a good time was had by all, ending with a hearty singing of Auld Lang Syne.

The tradition goes back to 1801 when five years after the world-famous poet died, a group of his friends arranged a dinner at the Burns cottage in Ayrshire. Today, the Scottish parliament considers Burns Day celebrations to be a key cultural event. Many have been held in the Quinte area over the years, including several at the Belleville Club.

While recognized as a womanizer, Burns is loved around the world for poems that reflect a warmth for humanity and all living creatures and a detestation of artificial rank and class during the peak of the aristocratic era. Many of his poems have been set to music and remain popular songs, like Flow Gently Sweet Afton and of course, Auld Lang Syne.

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