The annual Chesapeake Celtic Festival (happening this year on October 7 and 8) is one of the more awesome experiences you can have at Furnace Town, even though the living museum is pretty cool unto itself. The 28-year-old festival actually was born in Princess Anne, a vision of language professor Jeanne du Nord and a number of confederates who saw the potential for drawing people interested in Celtic life to the Lower Eastern Shore.
The festival failed to flourish there, though, and after a few years, du Nord and the other organizers spoke with the folks at Furnace Town about having the festival there. There are a billion reasons that the museum was the perfect spot for the festival, and more are discovered every year, but at the bottom of it is that the atmosphere, no the ambiance, makes people happy. Furnace Town has the space, sure, but it also is a permanent backdrop that comes alive all the more when occupied by throngs in period dress.
Prepare yourself. There are a bunch of double negatives in the following:
You don’t only not have to be interested in Celtic life to enjoy yourself at the festival, not being Celtic or familiar with Celtic culture isn’t even an issue. To be fair, Celtic life as it is portrayed is a lot of fun and certainly worth admiring, but the old-timey fairground aesthetic is much more pleasing. But beyond the beautiful grounds there are enough distractions to make a trip to the festival worthwhile, but there’s more than just the look of the thing that makes it the kind of attraction that draws hundreds of people to the region every October specifically for this festival.
1 All the pretty ponies (and other animals)
Irish Wolfhounds, which always are a treat, will be as big a part of the festival as they always have been, but additionally there is a dog parade with less wolfy, less Irish and less houndy dogs.
2 All the great music
Far from being just background music, the musicians and musical acts that come to the festival come with the pointed notion of heightening the atmosphere with songs you know and song you ought to know.
3 The first rule about Celtic Fight Club…
“Martial” really just means military, and any culture that had a military developed specific means of smacking other cultures around. There will be plenty of displays of the Celtic martial arts. Also, if you didn’t know, Celtic martial arts are a thing.
4 Finally, poles that aren’t tiresome
The “caber” or log toss is a strength competition wherein people pick up big logs and see how far they can throw them. Sometimes it is pretty far. Also, when was the last time you saw semi-professional cabers? Probably not in a while…
5 Stories and other artsy stuff
There also will be tons of artisans and vendors. Some selling their wares, other plying their trade for the sport of it. There’s a lady who dances while she paints, an assortment of people who make traditional things in traditional ways and story tellers and role-players and just general merry makers.
Click here for the whole rundown.