The 26th annual Celtic Classic Highland Games and Festival returns to Bethlehem this weekend, and it is sure to be jam-packed with fun activities for the whole family. Here are five highlights of the weekend you can look forward to:
There will be four stages of continuous entertainment, featuring international, national, and regional artists. According to Executive Director Jayne Anne Recker, it is the best lineup the festival has ever had. Some of the artists performing include Seamus Kennedy, the Glengarry Bhoys, Kilmaine Saints, as well as artists coming in all the way from Ireland. There will also be a pipe band competition, featuring some of the top pipe bands on the east coast who will be evaluated by judges coming from Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The Highland Games feature several different athletic competitions. This year marks the 9th year that the games are U.S. National High Games, and they will feature the top 10 professional athletes in the U.S. The games are traditionally Scottish, and they were once used for much different purposes including preparing for war and proving manhood.
Dance competitions will be held, and the Highland Dance will be specifically featured. This dance is a Scottish tradition, and competitors of all ages are welcome. This year, dancers as young as four years old will participate.
As always, there will be a Haggis eating competition to kick off the festival. Competitors will tackle one pound of haggis, and whoever finishes first wins. Last year’s winner finished in 44 seconds! Of course, other traditional Celtic food will be provided throughout the weekend. Additionally, there will be food and whiskey tasting events.
Overall, the best and most important part of the Celtic Classic is the Celtic culture that it promotes. At the center of the entire festival is the story of the seven Celtic nations, and every event at the festival serves to promote the traditions and values of the Celtic culture.
The largest free Celtic festival in North America begins Friday at 5 pm and runs until Sunday at 6 pm. The best part is – it’s all free! “Just find yourself a parking place and wander around all day,” said Recker. Come enjoy all the Celtic fun with your family and friends!