Celtic society hosts annual fest

Celtic society hosts annual festThe Celtic Society of West Tennessee hosted its 5th annual Celtic Fest on Saturday at the Casey Jones Amphitheater.

The two-day event included about nine music and dance performances, 12 vendors and five demonstrators of basket and wool weaving, knitting, spinning and medieval battle.

Attendees traveled from Kentucky, North Carolina, Mississippi and Alabama to attend the celebration and fundraiser that took a full year to plan, said Aleeta Smith, vice president of the Celtic Society of West Tennessee.

A portion of the event’s $6 admission will be donated to Habitat for Humanity.

Attendees could either pay a $6 entry fee or pay $5 along with a donated can of food. The can or additional dollar will go to the Regional Inter-Faith Association, Smith said.

The organizing group would use remaining funds to sponsor next year’s festival, which according to a founding member of the Celtic Society of West Tennessee is grounded in history and education.

“We love it because America was settled by people all over the world and the seven Celtic nations were instrumental in a lot of things that have happened in the United States,” Wayne Rher said. “They came over here and assimilated. They did not migrate. They came to be Americans, but they’d never forget their heritage.”

Some of Rher’s ancestors were Scottish. Like many of the event’s participants, he wore a forest green, red and white plaid kilt.

Other attendees, Brian Collingwood and Laci Guffey, looked at pink and navy pottery containing the ancient Celtic symbol called the triquetra.

It represented the three states of being, body, mind and spirit, according to Deb Mulligan, owner of Mulligan Pottery.

Other vendors and educational booths featured bagpipe demonstrations, family surnames, genealogy, Scottish clans, and Celtic research maps.

William Carpenter stood watching the Needfire, Celtic rock band, his 3-year-old grandson latching on to his hand.

Part of Carpenter’s family was from southern Scotland, his mother representing the Kerr clan.

“I’m 4, and I’m going to be 5,” Blake said incorrectly. His grandfather corrected him after describing the guitar and set of bagpipes the musicians were playing.

Another family sat off to the side on a red and green flowered picnic blanket. Abigail Hobbs said she was there supporting her husband Nathan Hobbs who played the Irish drum with Kula band.

Her two children, Jaden and Tanaya dropped a bag of Orville natural popcorn as they both attempted to eat the fallen kernels.

Other children attending the event played in a wooden jungle gym, volleyball net and castle-shaped inflated playhouse.

Diana Duke, president of the Celtic Society of West Tennessee, described the events targeted to different age groups, most representing an aspect of Celtic culture.

Armed actors recreated a one-on-one pre-17th century battle, said Misty Franklin of a local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism, describing the actor’s medieval attire.

Smith, another original founder of the Celtic Society of West Tennessee, said the group has grown to include hundreds of members and that she was expecting this year’s festival to attract thousands of attendees.

“This is a historical event. It’s not a show. We never want it to be a show,” Rher said. “When it turns into that, we’ll have to do something else.”

Source: JacksonSun.com



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