Last week’s announcement naming Saline as Michigan’s best place to raise kids was a feather in the cap for volunteers who organize the city’s Celtic Festival.
The very brief article by Businessweek Bloomberg contained two short sentences about Saline. One sentence was about Ann Arbor. The other was about the Celtic Festival.
Along with its sister city Brecon, in Wales, Saline hosts an annual Celtic Festival, full of traditional music and dance. The town particularly prides itself on being close to Ann Arbor, where the University of Michigan provides athletic spectatorship and an arts scene.
(Editor’s Note: There doesn’t seem to be any evidence suggesting that Brecon hosts a Celtic Festival.)
The festival’s prominence in Saline’s recognition comes just a couple weeks after discussions at a city council workshop showed that some festival volunteers are growing tired of defending the city owned event.
In recent years, as the city’s finances have been strained due to lower property values and cuts in state revenues sharing, the city has gently pushed the festival to move towards independence.
At a recent meeting, when some city council members expressed their concern that the festival’s move to independence from the city was going to slow, volunteer Don Makins let council members know how he felt
“We’re all volunteers here. We serve at your pleasure. I give up a week’s vacation to work on this. Pam (Grosshans) gives up weeks and weeks. If you don’t want (the festival), that’s fine. It’s volunteer stuff. It’s not a job.”
Upon being told the Businessweek recognition was a “feather in the cap” for the festival, a volunteer said it’s a lone feather.
Saline City Council member Jim Peters said the Businessweek recognition was great news for the city and the festival. He noted that the festival has worked hard to become a more family-friendly event.
In 2012, children’s attendance was up by 121. At one point, organizers at “Wee Folks Island” drove to a store to replenish the materials being used in arts and crafts activities. Kids also enjoy sword-fighting demonstrations, jousting performances and other activities.
“The festival is very kid-friendly. What kid does not like princesses, knights and dragons? Sword fights, paper crowns, rubber ducky race and the pipers’ parade?” Peters said. “The Wee Folks children’s area does a tremendous job at entertaining kids with interactive hands-on arts and crafts. There are lots of activities and games. They’re all wonderfully supervised in the beautiful setting of Millpond Park, on the grass and in the fresh air, where kids don’t play enough these days.”