The Celtic Heritage Festival is a series of fairs held throughout the U.S. that feature similar activities and festivities. Different Celtic Heritage organizations are responsible for planning the festivals, which take place in the warmer months. Resembling medieval fairs in appearance, Celtic festivals focus more on the history, crafts and language of ancient Celtic cultures than typical medieval activities such as swordfighting and jousting.
The festivals are put on by Celtic heritage foundations that seek to bring together people of Celtic descent, promote knowledge of Celtic traditions and educate those of Celtic heritage by lobbying for Celtic educational programs at high schools and colleges. These organizations function much like unions or your local VFW. They provide scholarships for members and hold community building activities like fellowship suppers and outdoor picnics featuring traditional English games.
Expect to dine on roasted meats, cabbage and potatoes at a Celtic festival. Colcannon, an Irish dish made of a combination of boiled potatoes, cabbage and onions, is likely to be served at a Celtic Fair. Traditional fare like shepherds pie and Irish stew also make a delicious appearance at these events. Because these festivals are held by modern folk of Celtic descent, regular American barbeque-styled food are usually also available.
Celtic Festivals feature concerts by bands that play Celtic music, as well as workshops for Celtic musicians. Lecturers speak about Celtic heritage while musicians and dancers give lectures about bagpipes and dancing. Artists are on hand to sell and discuss various crafts like jewelry decorated will traditional Celtic knots and crosses. Expect games like rugby and hurling to be played for entertainment and education at a Celtic heritage festival.
Because ales, beer and whiskey are synonymous with Celtic culture, they are generally served at Celtic festivals. Whiskey tastings are held for festival goers so that they can experience the different flavors of distinctly Celtic distillation. Celtic brewing is held in high enough regard to warrant its own Celtic beer festivals, many of which are simply a part of a larger Celtic Festival. Because many of today's highly flavorful -- and popular -- beers are brewed in Celtic styles, you will not be able to leave a Celtic beer festival without having found a delicious compliment to whatever you have been eating.
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