Celtic Fest kicks off Saturday

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By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

No need to wait for St. Patrick’s Day. Iron the kilt and tune up the bagpipes, it’s time for the Celtic Fest at Renfaire.

Celtic Fest host, Ed Frederick said it appeals to a large range of folks who love Celtic history and music. “It’s a celebration of the people of the Seven Nations,” Frederick said. The Seven Nations refers to Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, the Isle of Man and parts of Spain.

He said he expects a large crowd this Saturday and Sunday. “There will be more than 1,500 on Saturday and 1,000 on Sunday,” Frederick said. “You’ll see a lot of people in kilts.”

With three stages, two pubs and a long list of vendors with names like Dragon at the Corner, Cosmic Dice Oracle and The Scottish Trading Company the two-day celebration should have everyone’s Irish eyes smiling whether Emerald Isle green or good old Kentucky blue.

“This is the one place in Kentucky you can see Celtic arts and crafts,” he said. “Some are made here and some imported.”

The food is traditional Celtic fare. Mikaela’s Kitchen will serve up Shepherd’s Pie and Potato Soup bread bowls, fish and chips and Scottish eggs. “The food that’s on the menu here is what they’d have in a real Irish or Scottish pub,” Frederick said. The Briarwood Bakery offers Bridies, meat pies, Banger Rolls and baked goods for a sweet tooth. “Bridies are meat turnovers,” he said. “I can’t wait to have one this weekend.”

There is also a variety of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages from which to choose. Patrons can wet their penny whistles with strong libations at Hoodoo’s Pub in the Great Hall or the Twisted Thistle near the Ballad Stage.

There are even activities for the wee ones. Arts and crafts, a blow-up obstacle course and face-painting are all offered until dusk both days of the festival.

Of course, music is the big draw. Returning celtophiles will recognize some of this year’s performers. Liam’s Fancy, the Red Wellies and Guilderoy Byrne as well as the Singing Circle are a few of the afternoon offerings on Saturday and Sunday. “The Irish and Scottish session players are really something to hear,” Frederick said.

The Mickey Finns and Seven Nations will take the stage for the Saturday evening concert at 7 p.m. “They’re pretty heavy-duty Celtic rock and roll bands,” he said. Performances begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Sunday’s music starts at noon and ends with the festival closing at 5 p.m.

“There’s not a gathering anywhere close, within four or five states, to get this caliber of entertainment,” Frederick said. “It’s a great celebration.”

The Kentucky Celtic Fest runs Saturday, September 27 from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m and Sunday, September 28 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. The Celtic Festival site is the Kentucky Renaissance Fairgrounds on Kentucky 22 in Eminence. Advance tickets are available online for $10. Tickets are $12 at the gate. For complete information including a detailed performance schedule, go to kycelticfest.com.

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