Celtic Heritage Comes to Life at Dunedin Festival
Photos/text By Bill Lopez
Richard Kean from Sherman, Texas, played the bagpipes Saturday with the Jiggernaut Band during the Dunedin Celtic Festival. Seven bands played on the Community Center stage during the event that lasted until 9 p.m.
DUNEDIN - The 10th Annual Dunedin Celtic Festival benefiting Dunedin's Scottish bands was retooled this year by moving the event back outdoors and, for the first time, dropping the admission charge.
Sandy Keith, President of the Highland Celtic Games Association said the strategy seemed to work with more activity and turnout than in the past. He said attendance would hit about 2,000 with guests experiencing seven bands on stage, a dozen booths with arts and crafts, food and beverage vendors and athletic event demonstrations. Band performances continued all day Saturday featuring Rathkeltair, Jiggernaut, Seven Nations, Lucid Druid and the City of Dunedin Pipe Band.
Many members of the association turned out in traditional Scottish attire that added a festive touch while the Celtic athletes put on a demonstration of skill and strength with the Sheaf and Weight Toss events. The Sheaf Toss uses a hayfork to toss a 16 to 20 pound sheaf (burlap bag full of twine) for height over what resembles a pole vault bar. As contestants successfully flip the Sheaf over the bar, the bar is raised.
Sheaf tossing has its roots in agricultural where farmers would throw wheat sheaves into the loft. As a popular Celtic sport, top competitors can launch the sheaf over 30 feet in the air. During competition, any competitor may use any other competitorís fork and the highest toss wins.
But, Saturday's event was a demonstration only in preparation for the Highland Games and Spring Clan Gathering scheduled in April when a full complement of traditional Celtic games will be held including the signature Caber Toss. Caber contestants demonstrate raw strength, balance and coordination to pick up a 16-20 foot tall tapered pole weighting up to 140 pounds and flip it end over end.†
The Celtic Festival enriches Dunedin's special Scottish history dating back to 1899 when Scottish families originally settled the City of Dunedin. J.O. Douglas and James Sumerville named the settlement Dunedin, the original name of Edinburgh, which was their hometown in Scotland.
Festival receipts help support Dunedin's Scottish Bands that have received many honors especially the Pipers of Dunedin who have been invited to play all over the world, including Scotland, Prince Edward Island, Washington, D.C., and Ireland.†
Both the Festival and Dunedin's Pipe Bands continue to strengthen the bonds between Dunedin and the Scottish ancestral home of many of Dunedin's families. They serve to entertain the public while informing them of Scottish culture.†
The next association event is the Dunedin Military Tattoo scheduled for Saturday, March 29, 2009 at 7:30 p.m
Contact Bill Lopez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celtic Festival. Festival President Mary Sloan) and Vice President Carol White worked the Celtic Festival in their 17th Century Scottish woman's dresses.
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