Festival brings Celtic heritage

PARKERSBURG – The Appalachian Celtic Consort Band, playing a traditional blend of Scottish and Irish music, will be a headliner at this year’s Scottish and Celtic Heritage Festival in Parkersburg.

The festival will be 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 20 in the City Park Pavilion. Tickets are $5 at the door, kids 12 and under are free.

Opening ceremonies will feature members of the Pipes and Drums of St. Andrew and Capt. James Neal Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution from Parkersburg as color guard.

Entertainment will be offered throughout the day, including Celtic storytellers/musicians Lorna MacDonald Czarnota and “Granny Sue” Susanna Holstein, storytellers, musicians and authors who will have Celtic/Appalachian tales to share. They will entertain with two stage performances at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and a special children’s performance.

The Akron Ceili band will be on stage at noon and 2 p.m. Ceili (also spelled Ceilidh in Gaelic, and pronounced KAY-lee) is a time to get together with friends, family and neighbors to celebrate.

The West Virginia Scottish Highland Dancers and Bagpipes of Elkins will be performing flings, sword dances, the hornpipe and other traditional Scottish dances at 1 p.m.

The Appalachian Celtic Consort Band is scheduled to perform in concert at 4 p.m. The band plays a blend of traditional Scottish and Irish music, capturing the energy of the Celtic ceili, where musicians would gather just for the craic, pronounced “crack” and meaning “great fun.” The band has released a number of CDs that feature some original tunes as well as old favorites.

There will be Scottish Clan exhibits, vendors including Scotland Yard Limited from Kentucky offering a variety of Scottish wares for sale, including kilts, Celtic and Scottish shirts, Scottish hats, clan crest items, sporrans, kilt hose, flashes and other attire.

There will be Celtic-themed jewelry, and Katie Ferguson of Parkersburg will demonstrate pottery-making skills and offer special Celtic-themed pieces. Spinners will demonstrate their craft, and a Welsh vendor who makes handcrafted wooden love spoons will have a display. Welsh folklore tells that love spoons were carved from a single piece of wood, using decorative designs and romantic symbols to convey a personal, heartfelt message.

The inFamous Welsh Cookie Co. will be at the festival with several varieties of its homemade cookies, the recipe for which has been passed down through generations of the family.

Samples of Scottish fare will be available and Fairview 4-H Club of Lubeck will be selling hot dogs and other American fare as a fundraiser for the club.

There will be special storyteller times for the children along with crafts; Highland games for kids and adults, with prizes; a Pot of Gold Contest; Bonnie Knees competition; and kids will be able to decorate their very own castle.

John Dye, a member of the festival committee and St. Andrews Pipes and Drum Corps, said the festival will offer something for everyone.

“I’m really excited about this year’s festival. There will be plenty of activities for the kids. We’ll have highland games with prizes. We don’t want to forget the Bonnie Knees contest, which is also a lot of fun. It’s a day full of great fun for the whole family. It’s indoors, so the weather doesn’t effect us. Good food, bagpipes, great music, entertainment and fun for everyone,” Dye said.

The Pipes and Drums of St. Andrew is a locally based bagpipe and drum corps that was started over 15 years ago by Pipe Major Seamus McFadden and about a half dozen of his students. Pipe Major Joe Quick led the band for many years. Over the years the band grew and had the privilege of playing festivals, parades and other events, Dye said, adding the band is always looking for new members.

Genealogists, beginners and experts can find information and tips as well as local history, clan maps, tartan finders, Irish and Welsh history, and local histories will be available. There will be veteran genealogists on hand who are also members of the Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution to help find visitors find their family roots.

The festival, which is in its third year at City Park’s pavilion, has been drawing interest from all over the U.S. Every year someone who is an ex-pat Scotsman attends, organizers said. This year the festival has apparently drawn interest from other locales, as the organizers were contacted recently by a publication in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, requesting an interview about the Parkersburg festival.

For more information visit the festival website by googling Scottish and Celtic Heritage Festival, check out the Facebook page or email scotandceltfest@aol.com.