PARKERSBURG - Hundreds of people filled the City Park Pavilion on Saturday for the 2012 Scottish and Celtic Heritage Festival.
Several friends of "The American Celt," singer/songwriter Red McWilliams, who performed at the all-day event, drove several hours to Parkersburg for the day.
"I'm a friend of Red's and a few of us decided to come down and visit," said Cynthia Vickers of Rochester, Pa. "I drove three hours to be here and am enjoying myself."
Photo by Jolene Craig
“The American Celt,” singer/songwriter Red McWilliams, performs the “Star Spangled Banner” during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Scottish and Celtic Heritage Festival in City Park Saturday.
McWilliams, who has performed for crowds throughout the United Kingdom and U.S., said he was happy to be in Parkersburg.
"I did not know the event has been going on for a while," said the northern Ohio native. "It's almost like going back home."
McWilliams, while performing throughout the day and afternoon, also sang the "Star Spangled Banner" during the opening ceremonies which also included members of the St. Andrews Pipe and Drum Corps and the Capt. James Neal Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution from Parkersburg as color guard.
Other entertainment on Saturday included performances by the West Virginia Scottish Highland dancers and bagpipes, St. Andrews, a professional Celtic storyteller, the Akron Ceili Band and Irish/Scottish balladeer Eric Benson.
The festival also included other things to do, including learning about family history and genealogy. There were veteran genealogists on hand who are also members of the Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution helping those interested research their roots.
Artisans included handcrafted wooden love spoons, which are part of Welsh folklore that told of love spoons carved of a single piece of wood conveying a heartfelt message.
Local potter Katie Ferguson demonstrated her craft while she also designed and created a special signature crock with hand-designed Celtic knots on it for a raffle that included other Celtic-themed items.
"It took weeks to make," Ferguson said. "I wanted to do it to help the festival and I added the Celtic knot because it means eternal love and I thought it would be fitting."
The winner of the crock also received Ferguson's grandmother's Irish stew recipe.
"My grandmother was from Ireland and she made the best stew," the potter said. "I decided to add it with the crock as a special gift."