Something new is coming to the old village green on Saturday, June 2 in the Community Park in Friendsville. The Garrett County Celtic Festival village (10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.) continues to bring to life the traditions of the Scots and Irish in the highlands of Garrett County: braw men in kilts (and women too) competing in the great Highland Games, the enchanting sounds of regimental Pipes and Drums, the gathering of the Clans, the laughter of the children as they toss the caber and hurl the haggis, the Celtic Marketplace, and great food and drink. And, of course, the music: IONA, Aurora Celtic, Hickory Wind, and the Shanty Irish will entertain all day on the main Stage. And on the Shamrock Stage, Greg Latta on Irish Uilleann and Northumbrian small pipes, and bouzouki, and Lynne Dale and Avalon Folmsbee playing ethereal Celtic Harp. And dance? Join the Ceili, watch lifts at the feis of the Duffy School of Irish dancers, and join the Potomac Highland Country dancers for an allemande.
But now the stories of the ages must be told as well and told they will be! What do we know about the Vikings and the impact of their arrival in the auld isles? What will Mary, Queen of Scots tell us about her life and her disappointments? How does a Tartan become the badge of recognition for a Clan? Why did the Scots, Irish and Welsh come to America and how have they influenced life in this village and the surrounding mountains? What is it about Gaelic that creates such draíochta in our ears and hearts?

Mary, Queen of Scots. It is Feb. 7, 1587 at Fotheringhay Castle, England. Forty-five-year-old Mary Stuart has been imprisoned for 19 years at various sites in England at the order of her cousin, Elizabeth I. She had expected Elizabeth to help her regain the throne of Scotland after a revolt of her Protestant lairds had driven her from the country, but Elizabeth, fearful that Mary would press her undoubted claim to the British monarchy, chooses to keep her under watch and ward. Now Mary has been found guilty of plotting the English Queen’s death and an overthrow of the Protestant government of England. Awaiting execution, Mary desperately hopes that Elizabeth will grant her a merciful last-minute pardon. Alone in her chambers at Fotheringhay, Mary looks back over the eventful years which have brought her to this pass, sharing the wild ride which has been her life. Join Ellen McDaniel-Weissler for this fascinating Chautauqua style presentation.
The B&O Railroad in Maryland. Docent and Board member of the Irish Railroad Workers Museum, Cecilia Wright shares the lives of Baltimore Irish families with the B&O and their connections in Allegheny and Garrett Counties. In addition to talks around the state, Wright assists visitors with genealogy and helps host special events at the Museum.
The Many Faces of Celtic Spirituality. In the name of all the faeries and the Sidhe (the shining ones), what is this thing called “Celtic Spirituality”? Judith Clister invites you to join the discussion about this old, yet new, spirituality that touches different forms of belief. She presents how this phenomenon grew from the Druids, the early Christian Monks and perhaps as far back as the Tuatha De’ Dannon. What do these diverse groups have in common and how can this aid our spiritual quest even today? Clister’s frequent trips to Ireland and Scotland to visit the ancient and sacred Celtic sites inform the presentation and discussion.

The Gaelic! Ellen Sheffield Wilds is a historical researcher, author, spinner, traditional needleworker, and singer. Wild’s love of history, folk music and Gaelic, Scots, and Irish languages will enrich adults and children with what she brings to share about Gaelic’s unique history and cultural influence.

Vikings and Pirates: John Miles is an avid researcher and lecturer who will recount the Migration of the Scots/Irish Immigrants to these Appalachians. Further back in time, Viking Colonization of the British Isles influenced the future of all Irish and Scots in the isles. Has your DNA revealed some Scandinavian roots? Learn about your history and be sure to take your children and grandchildren to the Rainbow’s End to hear about Captain Kidd, Scottish Sailor and Pirate! And, be sure to ask him about the Scots’ regiments in military service in America.

Friendsville History, as told by Ina Hicks. a local treasure, with stories of families and events that go back centuries in this town. Active in Friendsville activities and the local Friends’ museum, she knows things! Enjoy her spirited accounting of the past in this village. And, if you have Welsh roots, plan to visit the nearby village of Hazelton, WV, where many immigrant miners came to settle.

Kathy Wells, Clan Hay: “From Fiber to Fashion”. From sheering to weaving to constructing the fabric of the Pittsburgh Tartan for the St. Andrew’s Society, Wells presents how the official tartan was designed. The Hays are one of the major clans of Scotland, whose Chiefs, the Earls of Erroll have been hereditary Lords High Constable of Scotland since Sir Gilbert Hay of Erroll was rewarded with that office after the Battle of Bannockburn by King Robert the Bruce.

A Day in the Life of a Drum Major: Who is that leading the regimental Great Highland Bagpipes? Curt Mitchell, honorary Drum Major for this festival and DM for the St. Andrew’s Pipes and Drums from Parkersburg, WV, will talk about the impressive regalia of the DM, pipers, and drummers, and the role of the DM in the history of the military displays you see here at the festival.

Celtic Instrumentation: Be sure to check in with talks by IONA and Bob Shank (Hickory Wind) on the Village Stage about the adaptation of ancient Celtic instruments used today and the tunes that appear in Appalachian music.

Among the many creative opportunities available to kids of all ages (Celtic crafts, elf gardens, costuming), children (up to 12 years) can register to play in the Rainbow’s End Highland Games, the caber toss and the haggis hurl among the events. They will hear tales and fables and meet owl and hawk, be regaled with stories of a legendary Scottish pirate, be entranced by Celtic folk lore, sing Gaelic tunes, and perhaps participate in a play about a great Irish fable. It’s a day long family affair, with lots to do, hear and see. Bring the kids!

RAIN OR SHINE! Park grounds completely accessible for the disabled, parking right on site. Seating available, but lawn chairs welcome.

This event is sponsored by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority: Gateway to the West, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Garrett County Arts Council, generous local businesses and individual contributors.