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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 April 2007, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Reid launches Tartan week village
George Reid opens the Tartan village exhibit
George Reid opens the Tartan village exhibit
A Scottish village exhibition has been opened in New York as part of Scotland's Tartan Week celebrations.

Holyrood's outgoing presiding officer George Reid launched the event in the city's Grand Central Terminal.

Mr Reid travelled to the United States on Friday for two weeks of events to promote Scotland in North America.

These will climax on 14 April, when thousands of pipers and drummers make their way down New York's 6th Avenue in the Tartan Day Parade.

Ancestral tourism

The Scottish Village is a major exhibition, which is the focal point for VisitScotland's Tartan Week activity.

It is based in Grand Central Terminal, occupying a 1,000 sq ft area in the Vanderbilt Hall, which is the main exit thoroughfare.

Last year 60,000 New Yorkers spent time in the Scottish Village.

The themes this year are golf, ancestral tourism, and events and festivals.

Aberdeen, the Highlands, Edinburgh and Glasgow all have a major profile on the village.

There is also an area where New Yorkers can buy Scottish produce from Scottish retailers.

Before heading the Tartan Day parade as Grand Marshal, Mr Reid is to engage in meetings and activities on behalf of the Scottish Parliament.

He is hoping to forge new links through sharing Scottish parliamentary practice with state legislatures.

Scots have played an influential role in the development of society in North America
George Reid

His programme also includes meetings with the Assemblee Nationale in Quebec, Canada.

"Our programme of activities has a strong cultural theme this year," he said.

"Scots have played an influential role in the development of society in North America - something the Scots in Quebec exhibition currently at Holyrood illustrates all too well.

"The role of Grand Marshal for the parade is one I am pleased to accept.

"To experience the streets of New York lined with people from across North America who are so proud of their Scottish heritage will no doubt once again be an emotional experience."

Tartan Day was first formalised by the US Senate in 1998 to mark the Declaration of Arbroath on 6 April 1320, when a group of Scottish nobles swore independence from England.

It has since been extended to cover two weeks of events celebrating Scots history and culture.

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