Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Celtic Classic

A weekend of fun, food, entertainment and competition happened in Bethlehem September 28, 29, 30. The 20th annual Celtic Classic was organized by the Celtic Cultural Alliance.

Celtic Classic Invitational Pipe Band and Drum Major Competitions included 10 bands from northeast US and Canada. Third Place Grade 3 MacMillan Pipe Band from Rockville, MD as well as the other competing pipe bands marched down Main Street. A few local bands also contributed to a musically colorful parade. Pipe band competitions were held behind Moravian South Campus soon to be used for a new dorm building for the college.

US National Highland Championships – according to the Celtic Classic publication:

“This is Celtic Classic’s third year of hosting the official U.S. National Highland Athletic Championships and our 20th year of witnessing many World Records being set on our Highland Fields!”

The history and rules of these competitions can be found at As always, the Caber Championships drew a large crowd on Saturday. Local favorite Harrison Bailey III from Easton put on a great show to the delight of a cheering crowd.

Celtic education and culture were on display in the Ring of Celtic Heritage and included Celtic Quest –

“Celtic Quest is a journey to the Seven Celtic Nations. Upon arriving at the Celtic Classic, children (or the young at heart) can receive a free Celtic Quest passport at each Celtic Nation Station throughout the Celtic Classic grounds. The Quest takes the passport bearer to all seven of the Celtic Nation Stations, where demonstrations, craft projects and displays will be set up to entertain and educate children, and adults alike, about the seven Celtic Nations.”

Tom Slattery an Irish-experience storyteller charmed the crowd and passed out information on the CCC Celt Collection Library at Bucks County Community College Several Clans presented history of their clan. Representing Brittany, Cornwall, Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales, Celtic garb, jewelry, signs and memorabilia were on sale everywhere. Highland dancers, step dancers and traditional as well as modern musicians performed on every stage.

There were few complaints for such a large festival. The Celtic singing competition was held across the Monocacy Creek from the main Grand Pavilion. It was almost impossible to hear the singers as the music from the Pavilion stage overpowered the vocals. Due to the large crowd on Saturday, lines were long at ticket booths and at most food vendors. The fiddle competition at the Ice House was at capacity Saturday and Sunday and no one else could be admitted. And, the results of the competitions were not published until this morning and don’t include the results of the individual athletic events.

All in all, Celtic Classic is a wonderful and family-friendly festival. The weekend was a reminder of what a beautiful city we live in - from the quaint main street to the view near the Lehigh River photographed on the way to the volunteer parking area.

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