If President Theodore Roosevelt attend Celtic Classic, he’d probably have said “Don't play your bagpipes softly and carry a big shillelagh.” He probably would have looked great rocking a kilt as well.
The 25th edition of Celtic Classic begins today in Bethlehem, PA and visitors from all over will be gathering to celebrate Celtic heritage and music, catch the US National Highland Athletic Championships, and, of course, eat some haggis.
Celtic Classic is presented by Celtic Cultural Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the Celtic heritage through education, musical presentations, and traditional competitions in athletics, piping and dance. The Celtic Classic is a celebration of Celtic culture and heritage. As a part of this celebration the following events and activities take place:
Four stages of continuous entertainment featuring international, national and regional artists.
The Celtic Classic Invitational Pipe Band Competition US National Highland Athletic Championships The “Showing of the Tartan” Parade (parade route) Haggis Competition Solas exclusive one-time concert Whisky Tasting Event The 14th Annual Celtic Classic Fiddle Competition A diverse marketplace of Celtic crafts, merchandise and collectibles Kids Craft Tent Celtic Crossroads (theater, music and film)
With all these options, it may be hard to catch everything in a three-day span.
So, what do some Celtic Classic veterans suggest? We asked Discover Lehigh Valley staff members to suggest their favorite parts of the festival.
Mike suggests checking out the Highland Games, especially the caber toss. For those unfamiliar, a caber is pretty much the size of a telephone pole and competitors attempt to flip it end over end. Watching it is about as awe inspiring as you would think.
Tracey says everyone should be sure to catch the “Showing of the Tartan” parade, which kicks off at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. The parade is one of the best chances to hear some authentic bagpipe music.
Kim wants everyone to be sure to watch the band Scythian perform. The band has been described by the Morning Call newspaper as “Celtic and world music with hints of Gypsy and Klezmer, all infused with a touch of punk rock sensibility.” Scythian performs at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday and 4:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Grand Pavillion.
Marc loves the wide variety of beers that are available on tap at the beer tents, including Guinness. Celtic Classic is one of the rare events that has a wide variety of beers that aren't typically served at large festivals. And who can forget the food?
Megan, with probably the most adventurous and possibly embarrassing suggestion, plans to try the Celtic Social Dancing events, which take place at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley on Saturday. The dances include Royal Scottish Country, Irish Ceili and Contra dancing!
George suggests relaxing while watching any of the dog agility and herding competitions that take place at Highland Field.
No matter what you decide to do while you’re at this year’s Celtic Classic, it will be difficult not to get caught up with a swirl of Celtic Pride.
You may even come home with a kilt of your own. Oh, a new found taste for haggis.