NM’s Original Celtic Fest Returns “Better Than Ever”

June 4 & 5

(ALBUQUERQUE)   Two years without one of the state’s most loved festivals has inspired the Rio Grande Valley Celtic Association to put together their biggest celebration ever.

The Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival returns to Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park, Saturday and Sunday, June 4 & 5.  The two-day celebration of the vibrant culture of the seven Celtic nations will feature live music, exciting athletic competitions, animal exhibits, interactive children’s activities and some of the best food this side of the Atlantic Ocean.  The festival is open Saturday from 9 am until 6 pm and Sunday from 9 am until 5 pm.

As part of the Festival’s tribute to Celtic culture, there will be live music throughout the weekend.  Headlining the main stage is The Black Donnellys.  Originally from Dublin, Ireland, the band was recently nominated for a Grammy and features a former Irish Songwriter of the Year.  Local musicians include the Duke City Ceili Band, the Celtic Coyotes, Mountain Road, Grace Broadhead, harpist Michele Buchanan, The Celtic Singers and many more.  The festival also features some top-notch Pipe & Drum bands performing and presenting workshops throughout the event, with competitions for solo musicians on Saturday.

Of course, Celtic music means Celtic dancing, with dancers of all ages performing. Traditional Highland and Irish dances.  Fest attendees will have their chance to participate with some helpful tips from the dancers.

Another highlight of the Festival is the annual “Heavy Athletic” competitions. Women and men will compete in the traditional Highland games, including the Caber Toss, the Scottish Hammer Throw, Braemer Stones and Sheaf Toss.  Rugby matches will also be held featuring members of the local Brujos Rugby Club.

The celebration of Celtic life includes delicious, traditional Celtic food, along with fabulous beverages from local breweries.  An exhibit of Celtic dog breeds will have information on the importance of those breeds in history as well as in modern Celtic life (please leave your dogs at home).  Local Clans and Societies will be on hand to talk with festival attendees about Irish and family history and opportunities for local Celtic activities throughout the year.

As usual, the 2022 edition of this acclaimed Festival will have many activities for the “wee ones”.  Children are sure to enjoy the magical theme of this year’s Fest with Professor Sprout.  They will be able to make their own wands, magic potions and philosopher’s stones.  The local Amtgard group of Medieval enthusiasts will give the kids a chance to “Fight A Knight” and to try Medieval-style archery.  The Little Free Library Wagon will also be on hand with free books for the children.

A diverse array of merchandise vendors will also be present, providing an opportunity for everyone to shop for many Celtic-themed crafts and rare amenities.

Adult admission is just $15 per day ($25 for both days) with free parking.  Children under 12 are free.

More Festival information is available at the Rio Grande Valley Celtic Association website:  celtfestabq.com.

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