NEWPORT Ore.– Highland Games, Celtic music and dancing, a haggis eating competition: the Newport Celtic Festival is coming back to life this weekend.
The Celtic Heritage Alliance has kicked off its fourth annual Newport Celtic Festival at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds.
On Friday, the festival started with a kilted run on the beach and a sand sculpture competition.
“I’m really excited because I get to do my favorite thing: run,” said 8-year-old Mak Hadziosmanovic, a runner in the event. “I’ve never run in a kilt before so it will probably be fun.”
The run was a fundraiser for the Lincoln County Animal Shelter; the sand sculpture contest a benefit for the Food Pantry’s school kids “Backpack Program.”
“It’s a day to run at the beach and support the animal shelter,” said Liz Behnke, who participated in the run. “And being Scottish, I had to support the Celtic games.”
Meanwhile, at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds, vendors and festival organizers are preparing for events that will kick off later this weekend.
“I’m from Scotland, and this is the only time of the year I can celebrate my heritage,” said vendor George Black who drove down from northern Washington. “So we come to meet with our friends, have a good time, and listen to music. Kind of gets me back in the mood again for being back in Scotland. It’s something I miss.”
At the fairgrounds, there will be Highland games, a haggis eating competition, Celtic music and dancing, and more than 60 vendors.
“They say travel broadens the mind,” said Belinda Goody, the Executive Director of the festival. “And if you can’t afford to travel, we kind of bring it here and I think it broadens people’s perspective.”
Goody says the festival is a fun way for people to learn about Celtic culture.
“I think it’s important for people to understand other cultures; to experience them and immerse themselves as much as they can so that we can accept one another.”
Events at the fairgrounds kick off Saturday from 9 am – 7 pm, then again on Sunday from 9 am – 4 pm.
On Friday night, there will be an Irish Ceili community dance at Sam Case Elementary in Newport from 6-9 pm. It costs $7 for adults and $5 for children. At Nye Beach starting at 8:45, the public is invited to a free “Piping Down the Sun” bagpipe and dancing event.
Festival tickets at the fairgrounds cost $12 per day for adults, $9 for kids who are between the ages of 7-17 and seniors who are 62 and older, and tickets are free for kids under 7.
For more event information, click here.