Saline gears up for annual Celtic Festival

 06/20/2016 - 19:26
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Bill Grogan's Goat is one of several Celtic bands performing at the July 9 Saline Celtic Festival

 The skies over Saline are turning tartan in anticipation of the 21st Celtic Festival, 5 p.m. to midnight Friday, July 8, and 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday, July 9, at Mill Pond Park.

The Celtic spirit kicks off Thursday, July 7, when Bill Grogan’s Goat performs in the Summer Music Series in downtown Saline. The Detroit band, new to the festival this year, is also one of the headline acts at Saturday’s all-day festival.

 Friday’s popular Pub Night includes performances from The Diggers, and Dragon Wagon (both also performing Saturday), and Nessa; music and dance workshops, Gaelic football, the Mastodon Celtic Corporate Challenge, and previews of many Saturday events. Gates open at 5 p.m. and admission is $5.

Stone Clover and Corktown Popes, both huge hits last year, return as top acts on Saturday, along with Equinox, Brother Crowe, Roane, Peat in the Creel, Finvarra’s Wren, Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic, Blue Caledonia, and Ann Arbor Celtic Harpers.

 After Saturday’s opening ceremony with massed pipe bands at 11 a.m., the park will be filled with Celtic music and dance, pipe bands, Highland athletics, historic re-enactments, fencing and swordplay, birds of prey, textile demonstrations, merchants, sheepdogs, and much more – as well as the famed “Millie the Mill Pond Monster” rising from the Saline River to roar at the crowds.  

Wee Folks Island will offer archery, golf, haggis hurl, athletics, and dragon slaying; as well as jewel crowns, fairy door decorating, and sword and shield painting, ducky races on the Saline River, face painting and balloon swords, storyteller Prince Merida, and stroller/wagon decorating for the Wee Folks Parade. The Island will also have games and activities for parents.

Amateur Highland Athletics will showcase Heavy and Light Weight for Distance, Weight Over Bar, Sheaf Toss, Caber Toss, and Braemar and Open Stone; while festivalgoers of all ages can win prizes at the Haggis Hurl, Golf Chipping, and Celtic Clobber; and admire thrilling jousting contests on horseback.

Tickets at the gate on July 9 are $5 for ages 13 to 17, $15 for adults. Active military, seniors ages 65 and over, and children 12 and under are free. Adult tickets are $10 when purchased online and groups of 10 tickets are $80. Tickets will also be available at Saline City Hall the week of the festival.

The Festival always welcomes volunteers, especially for Wee Folks Island.

 For complete information, visit www.salineceltic.org.