Saturate your senses in the sights, sounds and tastes of Celtic heritage when the Ormond Beach Celtic Festival returns to Rockefeller Gardens with folk music, food and fun from the seven Celtic Nations and beyond. Arriving this year on April 21 & 22, 2018, this eight-year old festival occupies two downtown parks along the Halifax River and fills them with 5 music stages, a Highland Games, clans and Celtic societies from throughout the region as well as a host of other activities. Voted the Best Local Event in the 2017 News-Journal's Readers Choice poll, the weekend attracts more than 8,000 locals and visitors each year. Admission is $10 each day for adults. Children 12 and under are admitted free. Two-day passes are available for $15 on line only. Veterans can receive a discount admission at the festival gate by presenting identification. There is plenty of free parking, including free off-site parking at Ormond Beach City Hall, 22 S. Beach St., with free shuttle service to allow everyone access to the Festival activities.
On the south side of the Granada bridge in Rockefeller Gardens festival-goers will find 3 stages of continuous music, a tent featuring jam sessions and master teachers, Celtic food, crafts and jewelry and, of course, plenty of Guinness. Twenty-five bands and four Celtic dance troupes from the United States, Canada and the British Isles will appear throughout the weekend playing traditional Celtic and folk music. In addition to all the music on stage, there are the Festival's two pipe bands, Rosy O'Grady's Highlanders and the Daytona Beach Pipes and Drums, leading daily parades by all the attending Clans.
Fortunato Park, on the north side of the bridge, is home to the Highland Games and Sunday's sheep herding demonstrations as well as a party tent sponsored by Southern Stone featuring more bands and a second beer garden. The Highland Games are sanctioned by the North American Scottish Games Athletics organization so its competitors rack up points toward the ultimate goal of competing in Scotland. More than 60 male and female athletes from around the region are expected to attend the Games and demonstrate their strength by throwing the caber, the hammer or the stone put. Senior competition goes on all day Saturday, while Sunday is reserved for beginners, demonstrations and classes.
If you're more interested in traditional food than traditional sport, make sure to grab a pint of Guinness or Tomoka Brewery's Irish Red to drink with your meat pies, shortbread or fish and chips. The annual Shortbread Competition takes place on Saturday morning with 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes for both traditional and modern shortbreads. The grand prize is a $200 gift basket from Kerrygold Dairy. Bakers should visit ormondbeachcelticfestival.com/shortbread.html for rules and an application.
The Celtic Festival is a great family outing, with crafts and activities for the young ones both days. On Saturday, dress in your best costume – be it princess, pirate, kilt or armor - and compete to be the Wee Lady and Chieftain of this year's Festival. The competition is open to children between 6 and 9 years old. Find out more at ormondbeachcelticfestival.com/littlemiss.html. On Sunday, visit with the great Craigmalloch Sheep Dogs and their charges. Demonstrations are set for 1 pm and 3 pm. While you can't pet the dogs, (they are working), but the sheep are fair game.
Also on Sunday, is our annual Dog Parade. If your dog is an Irish setter, a Welsh corgi or a Scottie dog – or you just want to dress your pup in plaid – bring them out for the fun. Dogs can be entered in the parade by bringing a contribution of cash or dog food to the Festival to benefit the Halifax Humane Society. There will even be prizes for the best-dressed dog.
Whether you're celebrating your Celtic heritage or can't tell haggis from colcannon, the Ormond Beach Celtic Festival has something to love. Visit our Celtic vendors and food stalls in the Celtic Village. Relax with a pint of Guinness along the beautiful Halifax River. Get your own kilt. Play a game. Discover your inner Celt. Take home something beautiful. Experience the Ormond Beach Celtic Festival!
For more information and music schedules visit OrmondBeachCelticFestival.com