The gloomy skies cleared up shortly after Bill Grogran's Goats took the stage and rocked downtown Saline with Celtic-inspired music Thursday night.
The weekly music series, offered by Saline Main Street, was co-sponsored by the Saline Celtic Festival, which takes place Friday evening and all day Saturday at Mill Pond Park. (Click here for the Celtic Festival Schedule)
Thursday's event was a small preview of the festive weekend planned for Saline. Bill Grogran's Goats, for example, return to play at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Goats fused Celtic music, metal, punk and folk to entertain the crowd. They are one of many Michigan Celtic-inspired bands who'll perform during the two day festival, which kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday.
The music was just part of the preview. Kids gathered round Merle Lawless and John Tracy as they demonstrated some of the Ancient Games that will be played at the festival. Tracy used a pitchfork and a sheaf to demonstrate the sheaf toss. And once he cleared the bar, we walked out to the intersection at Michigan Avenue and used the pitchfork to toss the sheaf over the traffic light.
Lawless said a record number of athletes are participating at the Saline Celtic Festival this year. They'll compete in the the heavy and light-weight throw, weight over the bar, the sheaf toss, caber toss, braemar and open stone.
"Word is out about the Saline Celtic Festival," Lawless said, explaining why the event draws athletes. "The athletes know that people come out and watch and they appreciate that. And they enjoy competing in Saline. It's a brotherhood and they enjoy each other's company at a great festival."
Kids took their turns practicing the caber toss Thursday. But instead of a 20-foot, 175-pound log, they tossed a 10-foot foam "caber." They also took turns throwing the sheaf over the bar and trying to lift the heavy weights the athletes will toss around Mill Pond Park.
The Summer Music Series was held on North Ann Arbor Street for the second straight week as sidewalk construction continues south of Michigan Avenue. Kari Holmes plays next week.