OLCOTT – The 15th annual Niagara Celtic Heritage Festival and Highland Games are slated for 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. next Sunday at Krull Park on the shores of Lake Ontario.
The festival features 23 musical acts over the two days, as well as eight dance groups and cultural workshops, and seven pipe bands. Workshops feature everything from Scottish country dancing to chainmaille.
In addition, the event boasts 37 clans and societies, ancient strongman competitions, a dozen living history groups and more than 30 merchants and artisans, as well as 15 food vendors.
There will be daily parades and opening and closing ceremonies, dog agility demos, storytellers, pony rides, and a Saturday night “ceilidh,” or concert, featuring the McMahon School of Irish Dance, Penny Whiskey, the Glengarry Bhoys and Pyromancy.
There is even a traditional “seisiun,” open to all guests, who are invited to bring their instruments and join in, planned for 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Saturday afternoon music at the bonfire is new this year, as well as a haggis pie-eating contest. Dunleavy Irish Music and Dance, the Celtic Moon Band and the Roc City Hurling Club are all making their first appearance at the festival. The Roc City group will give hurling demonstrations throughout the day on Saturday.
The Highland Games run 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days and feature: caber pole toss; sheaf toss; stone throw; 56-pound weight for height; 28-pound weight for distance; and 56-pound weight for distance.
The third annual Niagara Celtic 5K to benefit the Newfane Women’s Lacrosse Club is scheduled for 11 a.m. next Sunday at Krull Park, with a 9 a.m. check-in and registration. It is the final race in the Dimino Lower Niagara Running Series, and it will feature an awards ceremony following the race.
The festival cost is $25 for the weekend for adults, $20 for just Saturday and $12 for just Sunday; and free for children 12 and under. A free shuttle service circulates throughout the town. Advance tickets and a complete schedule are available at: www.niagaraceltic.com.