Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

September 12, 2013

Niagara Celtic Festival's not your average event

Niagara Gazette — Crowds that amount to 10 times the local population of around 1,200 will descend upon the town to visit Olcott Beach for the annual Niagara Celtic Festival this weekend. The 13th annual festival celebrates the music, art, food, and dress of the Celtic people.

On a clear day, the Toronto skyline appears to lord over the serene and scenic beach and one can only imagine the hustle and bustle of the major city across the lake and how it stands in stark contrast to the relative tranquility of the small hamlet.

Over the course of the festival weekend, Olcott Beach will buzz like major city, albeit on a smaller scale.

It is unlike any festival or event you will attend. In spite of what is clearly a mass influx of people, the large grounds make moving about easy, and the events make staying in one-place just as easy.

Last year was the first time I attended the festival. In spite of my best intentions, life always seemed to get in the way on festival weekend.

I had been told by festival organizers “you have to experience this thing,” and at first the thing that excited me most was the massive music lineup. I have always had a deep appreciation for Celtic music, and own albums by The Saw Doctors, The Chieftains and Celtic Women.

The transformation of the grounds into a festival is nothing short of miraculous. It’s not the type of event that you can rush through in a couple of hours, instead you find yourself drawn to things both grand and sublime.

The Clans, more than 30 of them, litter the grounds, each emanating tremendous pride that surely would make their ancestors proud. They provide authenticity and aesthetic appeal. They exhibit a pride in their cultural heritage that is infectious.

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