If you were anything like me the answer would have unfortunately been no. With the announcement of the 10th Annual Celtic Festival & Highland Games, I quickly jumped on the opportunity to change things. Organized by the great folks at the Highland Renaissance Festival Site, this family friendly event brings many enjoyable aspects of the Celtic culture to the forefront and allows people like myself the opportunity to expand our knowledge base and witness many traditions that you may have only seen on television.
If you missed the previous article highlighting our experience at the Highland Renaissance Festival you can find it here.
Approaching the same gates that took me back in time to Medieval Scotland, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Was it going to be like the Renaissance Festival? Was it going to be something completely different? I quickly found that it was in fact somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Making our way to the “town center” we were greeted with an impressive Pipe & Drum presentation that kicked off the opening ceremony with style. Performing an almost perfect rendition of Amazing Grace that brought chills to my arms, which I find an even greater feat since I have never even really liked the song. I have however always enjoyed the sound of Bagpipes and trust me there was no shortage at this event. Not only could you witness a showstopper like the one displayed above, but through most of the day solo competitions were taking place.
These were equally as remarkable given the criteria on which they were carefully critiqued. Speaking with the onsite judge gave me an even greater appreciation for the technical expertise that these musicians strive for. Having had my moments on stage and performing in various ways is one thing, but to be held under such strict observation is something else entirely. Stopping by and watching these performers throughout the day certainly earned a whole new level of respect.
Stopping in the familiar Mikaela’s Inn was perhaps the most anticipated aspect of the event for me. I absolutely love festival food and this was certainly no exception. The only thing missing was the turkey legs that graced the Renaissance, but there are plenty of other excellent menu items to choose from. Whether you are interested in a Burger and Fries, Fish and Chips or a Fantastic Shepherd’s Pie served in a bread bowl, there are plenty of affordable options to choose from. As with the Renaissance Festival there is a welcome selection of Ale, Deep Fried Items, and those amazing Funnel Fries. (I’m afraid I have to move on, I’m starting to get some serious cravings)
Inside the Inn there is also no shortage of entertainment. The incredibly talented Derby Boys graced the stage while we ate lunch bringing excellent music and a welcome sense of humor to their performance. A wonderful trend that I have noticed is the consistent introduction of talent to the Eminence audience. Every event I attend I always walk away feeling like I discovered a hidden gem to add to my playlist.
Sure this event showcases a lot of music, but what else can you see? Heading out to the Competition Field, you can witness the incredibly skilled archers participating in various accuracy competitions. As we watched the Open Archery Tournament I couldn’t help but the admire the dedication required to achieve the level of skill of the participants. Watching Dave Jennings nail a bullseye from 60 yards for the win was a great sight to see. Congrats to our winners!
If archery wasn’t your thing, there were the offerings of the Heavy Athletic Competition. Watching a huge rock being launched 50 feet through the air was quite the sight to see. If you weren’t impressed by that you could certainly find admiration in the Caber Toss. Watching guys that were easily twice the size of me attempt to flip a 20 foot pole end over end was nothing short of exciting.
Whether you come for the food, music or other forms of entertainment there is no shortage of things to do or see. One of my favorite aspects of any event at this site is the nature of people in attendance. I have never felt so welcome with a group of strangers as I have at both the Celtic Festival and Highland Renaissance Festival. The staff and crowd are always in good spirits and it truly manages to capture the spirit of much simpler times. The only disappointing aspect to any event at this site is the inevitable travel home and realization that you have to wait a whole year to travel back in time.
For more information on the Celtic Festival and future events at this site visit The Official Website.