According to Winston Churchill, the Irish were always a little bit odd. “They simply refuse to be English,” he said. At Hunter Mountain’s International Celtic Festival this Saturday and Sunday, August 15 and 16, festivalgoers can celebrate the Irish insistence on being true to itself in its own inimitable way through live Irish music and dance, bagpipes and drummers, traditional Irish fare and beverages.
Sunday will also feature a bagpipe competition, with judges provided by the Eastern US Pipe Band Association, a non-profit group dedicated to improving all aspects of solo and band bagpipe and drums music. Following the competition, the participants will join an impressive array of hundreds of bagpipers and drummers performing in unison in a Mass March down the mountainside.
Since you couldn’t have a Celtic Festival without live Irish music, there’ll be plenty of that on tap. Scheduled to perform are the American Rogues, Shilelagh Law, Andy Cooney, Barleyjuice, Off Kilter, Derek Dempsey and Celtic Soul, the Narrowbacks, the Little Creek Band, Seamus Kennedy, Blackwater, Ed Ryan, the Donny Golden Dancers and the Ulster County AOH Pipe & Drum.
Dozens of vendors will be on hand offering traditional Irish food and beverages, and on Saturday night, the Festival will be capped off with a display of fireworks at 10 p.m. The kids will have their own area, too, with a tent featuring a wildlife show, puppet shows, jugglers and more. There will even be a Catholic Mass conducted at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday by Father Francis Pizzarelli of Hope House Ministries, accompanied musically by the Andy Cooney Band.
Admission to the International Celtic Festival costs $16 for adults; those age 12 and under get in free. There is a 50 percent discount for festivalgoers with a military ID. Group rates are available, as are discounts for advance purchase online. Pets are not permitted on the festival grounds. The gates open at noon on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday. For a full schedule of entertainment and more information, visit www.huntermtn.com/summer/festivals/international-celtic-festival or call (800) 486-8376.