Celtic Fest Ohio is back for its second year this weekend and the Waynesville event is expanding to five stages of Celtic music and dance.
With bands such as Dulahan, Whiskey Maggie and Jameson’s Folly, the fest will showcase three times more music than last year.
“It’s molded into more of a Celtic music festival with lots of food and shopping,” said Cheryl Bucholtz, the festival’s marketing director. “It’s a good variety, with even some Celtic punk rock. The music is the most popular aspect of the festival. You’ll hear everything from traditional ballads to pub songs to Celtic rock where bagpipes are used instead of a guitar. I’ve heard from people as far away as Orlando, Florida, who are coming up to see Off Kilter and Seven Nations. I don’t think we had quite that draw last year.”
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HOW IT STARTED
Celtic Fest Ohio was created by the same production company that produces the Ohio Renaissance Festival every year, and takes place on the same grounds. Bucholtz said they had over 10,000 attendees over 2½ days last year.
“There’s a huge contingent of Celtic culture in this area,” she said. “Dayton and Cincinnati have Irish dance troupes. Columbus is a hotbed of Celtic culture. There was a lot of Scottish and Irish immigration in the Appalachian area in the U.S., and that helped build our country. We incorporate all of those ideas and celebrate that heritage. We’re hoping for another run of good weather and greater awareness. We’d love to hit 20,000 people.”
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WHAT TO EXPECT
In addition to cider and Guinness tastings, Celtic art, and a run/walk fundraiser, the festival features a number of cultural highlights.
New this year will be an appearance by the 42nd Royal Highlanders, a group that re-enacts the pipe and drum corps of a Scottish infantry regiment that was active during the American Revolution.
“It’s basically a wall of red coming at you,” Bucholtz said.
Another exhibit of living history is the Viking encampment, which features a 40-foot replica of a Viking ship.
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“The tents give you an example of how (the Vikings) would’ve lived during the Beowulf era,” she said. “It’s for anyone who wants to know how so many people were crammed onto so small a ship.”
Alan Miller of Kentucky will bring his border collies, a breed of herding dog originally developed on the English-Scottish border, to demonstrate how to herd duck and sheep.
“His demonstrations are always educational and entertaining,” Bucholtz said. “It’s a tradition he has carried on from his family, and shows that sheep-herding is still a real thing.”
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