The Hawkeye

Festival celebrates local Celtic heritage

James Barnette, [email protected]

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Green grass carpeted the scene as people danced from table to table with voices of joy and bellies full. Sounds like a scene from the “Hobbit,” right?

Well, red hair, bagpipes and kilts were a common sight this weekend at Kiroli Park as the annual Celtic Festival kicked off.

“I like the heritage and seeing the strong, burly men in kilts,” said Trish Owens, a psychology graduate student.

Celtic Fest was the brainchild of Doyle Jeter, founder of Enoch’s, over 15 years ago. He and Tom McCandlish were the organizers of this year’s event.

“A lot of the names you hear around here. The O’s this and the Mac’s this. They’re all descendents of those peoples and so we wanted to celebrate that heritage,” said McCandlish, membership director for the West Monroe Chamber of Commerce.

Celtic heritage includes Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Breton, Manx, Cornish and Gaulish bloodlines. Many people of Celtic heritage settled in the Monroe area.

“It is always such fun for families and the kiddos,” said Brooke Foy, an assistant art professor at ULM.

Foy and some of her student volunteers teamed up with SEE West Monroe AmeriCorps to provide crafts for kids at the festival.

“While teaching at ULM, I try to make sure my students know the value of the community they live in.  To help reinforce these ideas, I offer bonus points in my Art Appreciation classes to students that volunteer along side me at events,” Foy added.

The team had everything from sand mandalas to wooden dolls.

“It’s really fun working with the kids at the Celtic Festival and how creative they can be,” said Natalie Miller,  a pre-pharmacy freshman.

Dancing, singing and music filled Kiroli Park with live bands from all over the country playing at the Celtic Festival. 

Even a few live action role-players had fun demonstrating some fights in traditional gears.

A Celtic-Cajun mix was available to the festival-goers as they visited the multiple stands in the park. The festival had beer served in green souvenir cups.

Visitors could also buy wood carvings of Celtic names at the festival.

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The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe
Festival celebrates local Celtic heritage