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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Highland athletes at rest, 1984
Highland athletes at rest, 1984 Festival. Courtesy Celtic Society of Southern Maryland

Celtic Festival of Southern Maryland

The Celtic Festival of Southern Maryland, held in April each year, highlights the common cultural threads interwoven into the fabric that is the Celtic peoples. It features music, dance and heritage of Welsh, Irish, Scots, Cornish, Breton, Manx and English. Fiddlers, pipers, harpers and other musicians combine with storytellers, historical reenactors, athletes and Celtic vendors to provide a day of education and fun. Clans and other organizations offer history, genealogy and hospitality throughout the day. Also featured are a parade of clans; bagpipe, drum, dance, and fiddling competitions; and children's activities. The Scottish Heptathlon hosts events in caber, sheaf toss, and weight toss; and there is a kilted mile run and two-mile run. In the crafts area, a "Sheep to Shawl" demonstration shows how wool is woven into beautiful items of clothing. Celtic hand-crafted items are offered for sale at the Celtic Marketplace, and Celtic and regional food are served. Very popular are the bridies--puffed pastries filled with finely ground beef, onions, carrots, peas and potatoes.

This event, originating in 1979 and produced entirely by volunteers from the Celtic Society of Southern Maryland, has been held in St. Leonard, Maryland, since 1987 at the Jefferson-Patterson Park & Museum, a 544-acre historical and environment preserve overlooking the Patuxtent River at the site of the War of 1812 Battle of St. Leonard's Creek. Since 1979 attendance has grown from 1,500 to almost 15,000.

Project documentation includes a 24-page narrative on the Festival's history and events, promotional brochures and tickets, programs for each year of the Festival back to 1979, newspaper clippings, news releases, audio cassettes of a radio interviews covering the 1986 and 1990 Festivals, videotapes of the 1984 and 1985 events, 40 slides with descriptions, photographs of various sizes, and a tee-shirt.

Originally submitted by: Steny H. Hoyer, Representative (5th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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