Celtic Festival – Major Fun Locally

Celtic Festival

Bagpipe bands are key at a Celtic Festival
Bagpipe band courtesy McKenzie Highland Games

You might be of Celtic ancestry. One of the seven British Nations: England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Mann (Manx), Cornish and Brittany.  Or you may just love to have fun.  In either case, you can have a great weekend experiencing a local Celtic Festival Highland Games event.

When the call goes out in Scotland for the games – people take it seriously. Pride, power and a passion for fun.

People gather, eat great Scottish, Irish and American foods, and meet like-minded people. It’s a party, Celtic style. Scottish, Irish, Renaissance all mixed up together just to have fun.

Come hungry.

There will be lots to taste. Food from the home country. Yummy beefy Scottish pies, scones with berries and cream. Don’t forget the haggis, a Scottish cross between meatloaf and sausage.

You’ll also find hamburgers, fish and chips, pulled pork or whatever else local food trucks cook up.  Lots of kid friendly choices.

Get on your Celtic festival kilt

It won’t be just the dancers, athletes and pipers dressed up. Attendees are

HIghland Dancers are popular at Celtic festivals
Celtic Festival Dancer

invited to get their gear on too. Kilts and all manner of Celtic dress. You’ll see Jacobite to Renaissance, traditional to Victorian and modern twists too. Plaid scarves, tartans, berets, skirts. You will find it all.  No costume?  The vendors will help you find just the thing.

Music, Dancers, Athletics

Dancers and pipe bands compete and entertain. No Highland festival would be complete without the magical sound of bagpipes! Lots of them. But you may also find brass bands and Irish folk music. Listen…there is harp music in the air.

Brawny lads and lasses compete in athletic events -attired in kilts.  If

Guys in kilts compete in heavy athletics
Mackenzie Highland Games photos by David Postier

you’ve never seen a strong lad throw a heavy stone or flip a heavy pole (Caber), you’ve missed something. You might see a cast iron frying pan toss. Or, the ladies do their own version of the same events the guys do.

You might be thirsty after cheering on the athletes, so head over to the beer garden for some libations.

What is that dog doing??? It’s a sheep herding demonstration. Clever dog.

Each Celtic Festival is unique

Every event is a little different depending on the venue.  You might see

Sword fighting and jousting are popular at celtic festivals
Celtic Festival Sword fighting

sword fights or jousting.  There might be a Scottish cow.  Face painting and a kid’s area get everyone involved.

At clan booths, you can learn some of the histories of the clans.  They will even help you find what clan you might descend from. Not from the British Isles?  No worries.  They are a friendly group, especially at these gatherings and welcome all.

Many events are dog-friendly to well-mannered dogs on leash. Some offer camping or places to park an RV for those traveling to attend. Some offer a classical bagpipe recital.

Almost all have a Saturday evening party called a Ceilidh (kay-lee). It’s generally held after the closing of the day event. It’s an evening of live music, piping, drumming, and dancing. The Scottish and Irish love their parties… especially when accompanied by good brews and whisky.

To find an event near you, Google is your friend.  Just “google” highland games or Celtic festivals for your state or region.  A list will pop up and you can check out their websites.

Volunteers are always needed

Want even more fun?  Volunteer to help out.  They always need an extra set of hands either in the background or at the event.  It might get you a free t-shirt or even a free entry.

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