Saline Celtic Festival will offer free music and dance workshops on July 8, 9


Want to learn to play Celtic instruments, or learn traditional dances? The Saline Celtic Festival will offer several free workshops on Friday, July 8, and a few at the July 9 all-day festival. The workshops and are open to beginner through advanced-level participants.

“The workshops start at 6 o’clock Friday, so come early to not miss a minute,” says organizer Marilyn Geyer. “The only problem you’ll have is deciding which dance or workshop to attend!”

“Once again, I’m very impressed with the wonderful line up of talented musicians and dancers we have for this year’s traditional tract,” she adds. “Their enthusiasm to share their love for their special offering is very contagious. I’ve also been quite touched by their willingness to help in any way needed.”

Well-known Ann Arbor fiddler Marty Somberg will teach the fiddle workshop; participants must bring and be able to play their own fiddle. Marcel Lim from Motor City Irish Dance will teach Sean Nos’, a very old form of step dancing; Ann Arbor Morris Pub Sing will lead sea shanty singing; and Jennifer Feneley from The Detroit Irish Music Association (DIMA) will lead tin whistle, with whistles available for purchase. Tristan Pruss from DIMA will teach bodhran—participants may bring their own small drum or use one of the workshop’s pizza boxes. There will also be an Irish Step Dance presentation.

Michael Bean and V. Cieri, from Black Murray will provide music for Friday evening’s contra and ceili dances, and again on Saturday. 

“I’d love to get the Celtic festival off to a great start with some fun contra dancing,” says contra dance caller Martha Vander Kolk.

The free workshops are part of the Festival’s “Dance Party in the Park,” 6 p.m. to midnight, Friday, July 8, at Mill Pond Park. The evening's music features Enda Reilly, Ironwood, The Codgers, and The Phoenix Theory, and there is a Mr. Pretty Legs In A Kilt competition. The cost is $8 at the gate; ages 6-17 $5; age 5 and under and active military free.

Saturday’s workshops will include “Try an Instrument Petting Zoo” presented by DIMA; step dancing; and tin whistle.

The July 9 festival will run 11 a.m. to midnight, with music from The Moxie Strings, Crossbow, Brother Crowe, Nessa, and the Saline Fiddlers; Highland dance competition, pipe & drums bands, living history, music and dance, ancient athletics, Wee Folks Island, jousting, sheep herding, clans, textile demonstrations, Ring of Steel, beer tent, food vendors and merchants—and “Millie the Mill Pond Monster.”

Tickets are $15/advance; $18 at the gate; ages 65+ $8/advance; $10/at the gate; ages 6-17 $5; age 5 and under and active military free. Group packages are available. Volunteers get a free pass and a chance to win a $50 gift card—sign up here.

Free parking and shuttles are available both days.


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