Central Oregon Coast Highland Games Now Rival Portland's
(Newport, Oregon) – Newport's Celtic Heritage Alliance is putting on one of the largest Celtic parties of the year this weekend with the Newport Celtic Festival & Highland Games on June 7, 8 and 9 at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds.
It now is muscling in on territory of the big ones in Portland, and this year will feature more than 60 vendors and over 5,000 people showing up to soak in the sporting events, food, crafts and astmosphere of the ancient clans.
“Last year we estimate (by ticket sales) we drew just over 5,000,” said Executive Director Belinda Goody. “In comparison, the 60-year-old Portland Highland Games drew 8,000 last year.”
Attendance jumped from about 4,000 people in 2011 to a little over 5,000 in 2012, Goody said.
Other features include Celtic clans, societies and other non-profits who offer education and outreach to festival patrons at no cost.
This year’s Celtic Heritage Parade will kick things off starting at 9:30 am at the Newport High School track. The parade is a free event, open to the public, featuring Celtic clans and societies, pipers and pipe bands, performers, “gingers” on parade and the lovable Celtic dogs.
Sporting events include the Caber toss, Scottish Hammer Throw, Sheaf Toss, Stone Put and a few weight-throwing events. These draw a few dozen hardy souls who compete against each other, sometimes for cash prizes.
Goody said this is a way to celebrate the diverse cultures of the seven Celtic nations: Brittany (France), Cornwall (England), Galicia (Spain), Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales.
Special events this year include Friday’s Fringe events such as the Kilted Kilometer Fun Run, Sand Castle Contest and “Piping Down the Sun” - all at Nye Beach, plus a Breton-style “Fest Nos” community dance with live music from “Sonerion & Mistral” at Sam Case Elementary. Saturday and Sunday at the Fairgrounds, patrons will enjoy Sheepdog Herding Demos, a Celtic Fashion Sho w, Bonnie Knees Contest, Jacobite Living History Camp, Highland Cattle, a Hurling match, Welsh Skillet Toss contest (ladies only) and the return of the Haggis Eating Competition. Clan Ross will be on hand to defend their title.
For tickets and additional information see www.newportcelticfestival.com or call 541-574-9366.
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