Nov 17

The Red Thistle Dancers' First Performance (1974)

Red Thistle
Show More
Cirsium Occidentale
The Venus thistle, also known as the Cobweb thistle
Show More

"The red thistle, found growing in California serves well as a symbol of both our Scottish heritage and current home." ~ Jennifer & John Kelly (founders of The Red Thistle Dancers)

Founded in 1973 in the San Francisco Bay Area, The Red Thistle Dancers are a non-profit organization dedicated to sharing and performing the country and highland dances and music of Scotland. In the year 2019 under Artistic Director Fred DeMarse, The Red Thistle Dancers marked their 500th performance! The namesake red thistle (Cirsium occidentale) also known as the cobweb thistle or cobwebby thistle, is a North American species of thistle in the sunflower family, commonly found across most of California: in its mountain ranges, valleys, and the Mojave Desert; and in the western Great Basin region in western Nevada, southern Oregon, and southwestern Idaho.

This tartan was designed by author of this website who is both an admirer of and performer with The Red Thistle Dancers.

This day marks the first documented performance of The Red Thistle Dancers in 1974.

Official Registry Notes: Designed as a tribute to The Red Thistle Dancers, a Scottish Country and Highland Dance performance group based in the San Francisco Bay Area, who take as their namesake, the California native red thistle.


This tartan is based on the California State tartan, birthplace of The Red Thistle Dancers in 1973. Colours include: Highland Green for the Scottish Highlands of Highland Dancing, Parchment for the Scroll of Honour awarded to the Directors of The Red Thistle Dancers by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. Reds and crimsons for the California red thistle native species (Cirsium occidentale and Cirsium arizonicum), and Nobel for the thistledown.   

For a gallery of more red thistle species, visit the website of The Red Thistle Dancers  by clicking the thistle!

Officially registered tartan graphics on this site courtesy of The Scottish Tartans Authority.  Other tartans from talented tartan artists may also be featured.

  • Facebook - Grey Circle
  • YouTube - Grey Circle

This site is featured on:​   &

9 out of 10 kilt wearers agree - this is almost as thrilling as a good

tartaned kilt flip when going regimental! 

In a tartan mood? Tag along on social media