1st Annual Inaugural Jacksonville Celtic Festival Is Largest Event Of Its Kind For Northeast Florida
The upbeat music, lively dancing, rugged Highland games, and cuisine of the colorful Celtic culture will be offered at the Jacksonville Celtic Festival, the largest event of its kind ever planned for Northeast Florida. The free event will be held from noon-10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, at the oceanfront SeaWalk Pavilion, 75 1st St. N., Jacksonville Beach, Fla.
“This is the first year we have held the Jacksonville Celtic Festival, and it’s the biggest event of its kind for Jacksonville,” said Keith Doherty, event coordinator, owner of Lynch’s Irish Pub and Jacksonville Beach City Council member. “The Festival is a celebration of the Celtic heritage. It will appeal to all genres and age groups. We intend to make this the first annual festival of many to come, and eventually we will make it a three-day event.”
Local personalities have been invited to introduce performers and events. They include Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, University of North Florida President John Delaney, First Coast News Meteorologist Tim Deegan and WJXT-TV News Anchor Bruce Hamilton.
The festival will emphasize the colorful traditions and relationships between the seven Celtic nations of Europe and the U.S., and will feature internationally known musicians and dancers. A variety of traditional Celtic food, beer and memorabilia will be offered by vendors.
Entertainment planned for the premier event includes internationally known musical groups, local fife and drum corps, Irish and Scottish dancers, a Kid’s Zone, Scottish games athletes, local celebrities, craft booths and genealogists to research family trees.
Here are the tentative performance times and entertainers scheduled for the main stages [updated times will be provided as they occur. Videos of songs performed by the groups are posted on www.jaxcelticfest.com.]:
Noon — Spade McQuade & The Allstars – Irish rock band
1:15 p.m. — Fear Buile – University of Florida’s Traditional Irish Music ensemble
2:30 p.m. — The Gothard Sisters – Celtic music and dancing
3:45 p.m. — Colm Kirwan – Country music with a Celtic flair
5 p.m. — The Willis Clan – Irish music merged with other music and dance genres to create a unique blend of old and new
6:15 p.m. — Searson – energetic and upbeat Celtic music featuring step dancing and several musical instruments
7:30 p.m. — Rathkeltair – Rock music with Celtic roots
8:45 p.m. — Enter the Haggis – unique and eclectic blend of instruments: fiddles, banjos, bagpipes, accordians, mandolins, horns, harmonicas, cellos, farfisas and electric guitar
The pipe corps, and Scottish and Irish dancers will perform 15 minute sets between bands on the Pavilion stage, and include:
Clay County Sheriff’s Office Pipes & Drums – traditional Scottish and Irish drum and bagpipe music
Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department Pipes & Drums – traditional Scottish and Irish drum and bagpipe music
Jacksonville Pipes and Drums – traditional Irish and Scottish music
Glas Tara School of Irish Dance
Drake Irish Dancers
Games and Kids Zone
1-4 p.m. – Northeast Florida Scottish Games and Rugby Exhibition – caber toss, stone put, hammer throw and more
11 a.m.-close – Kid’s Zone – featuring rides, games and face painting
Guinness is the headline sponsor of the event, and Lynch’s Irish Pub is the local sponsor.
The University of North Florida’s International Center is an event partner.
Discounts will be offered at official host hotels, just mention Jacksonville Celtic Festival when booking. The rooms are $129 at Quality Suites Oceanfront, (904) 435-3535; $119 at Best Western Oceanfront, (904) 249-4949; and $109 at Holiday Inn Express, (904) 435-3000.
Parking is free and available in any Jacksonville Beach lot.