-Shelby Welch, contributing writer
Every year, people from all over the Jackson area gather together at the Ag Museum to celebrate and learn about Irish culture during an event called “Celtic Fest.” Plenty of MC students attend every year, but perhaps you were not able to make it to this event, or you’ve never even heard of it and are curious why a large group of college students would want to spend their weekend learning about Irish culture. Well, after two years of attending this festival, I believe I’ve discovered the reason why.
Celtic Fest is an annual festival that comes to Jackson every year to teach people about Irish culture while providing a weekend full of entertainment. It comes to the Ag Museum each year for one full weekend in early September. Celtic Fest starts off on Friday with some live stage performances, giving fans a chance to listen to fun Irish music. On Saturday morning, live performances continue, along with games and numerous workshops to attend. Workshops are continuous throughout the weekend at Celtic Fest and are one of the best opportunities provided at the festival to learn about and participate in Irish culture. They give each attendee the chance to learn more about Irish music, storytelling, dancing, and more. There are also tents set up outside throughout the weekend that give fans the opportunity to purchase merchandise from vendors, such as t-shirts, jewelry, and CDs from the live performers.
However, the real fun starts Saturday night during the Céilí Mór. The Céilí Mór is the dancing portion of the festival. If you come to Celtic Fest, this is where you would probably notice many familiar faces from MC. The dances led by an instructor don’t require any experience to learn and participate. Dancers simply grab a partner and learn Irish dance after Irish dance, while a live band plays upbeat music. Everyone participating has to follow along with the instructor and do their best to keep up with everyone else in the room. This can be pretty challenging at times, but it is always so much fun. The event goes from 7:30 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., and at the end of that long night, everyone in attendance has learned many new dances, had an awesome workout, and made new memories.
Students come back to Celtic Fest each year because they have discovered that it’s a fun and inexpensive way to experience another culture. It’s one of the most exciting events to come through Jackson during the year. If you didn’t get the chance to experience it this year, be sure to check it out next year when it comes back to the Ag Museum from Sept. 11 to Sept. 13 in 2015. You won’t regret it!