Want a break from long, dark, January days? Like to laugh a lot? Up for a culinary adventure? Then the 9th Annual Robbie Burns Supper and Poetry Slam, a lighthearted homage to Scottish national poet Robert Burns, may be for you. Open to the public, the supper will be on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 3 p.m. at Timeless Destination, 77 Main Street in Wellsboro. Leave your inhibitions behind and join in.

Featured will be fun, fellowship, whisky 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 whisky works better in January than in July.

Suppers take place worldwide each year on that date, from the modest event in Wellsboro to Toddish McWong’s Gung Haggis Fat Choy supper in Vancouver, British Columbia, simultaneously celebrating Robbie Burns and the Chinese New Year, with more than 500 people attending.

“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.

A toast of an excellent single-malt whisky 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.

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.

“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.

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.

Seating is limited to 30 at Wellsboro. The cost is $40 and reservations are 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. Any proceeds will be donated to the Wellsboro Area Food Pantry.