The fire of the Celts is as alive as ever in the Oldest City. Every year in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, people from all over the area come together to celebrate their Scottish and Irish heritage – whether it be real or just adopted for a weekend. The event will feature Celtic bands from around the world, Highland games, representatives from the Clans, Celtic food and drink, crafts, vendors, and more. It’s a can’t-miss part of the St. Augustine festival season, so take a look at some of the highlights of the weekend and everything you need to know to make the most of the St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival.
The Festival starts on Friday, March 9 at 7pm with a whiskey tasting and continues through Saturday, March 10 from 10am-10pm and Sunday, March 11 from 10am-7pm with music, food, games, and vendors. All events will take place at Francis Field in downtown St. Augustine. General admission to the Festival on Saturday and Sunday is $10. Children 12 and under as well as retired and active US Military personnel are free.
If you want to live large during the weekend, you can opt to purchase a VIP ticket for $75. This ticket will get you entrance to the festival on both Saturday and Sunday, two free beers or wine, VIP seating, bar, and restrooms, and a 2018 festival t-shirt. The VIP ticket does not include the Friday night Whiskey Tasting.
To kick off the festival weekend, spend some time with the Jameson Brand Ambassador direct from Ireland and taste a few top-shelf whiskeys. You’ll have a chance to savor them as the Ambassador describes the history of each as well as history and facts about the different regions. The tasting will include seven whiskeys and scotches – Jameson Caskmates IPA Edition, Jameson Black Barrel, Jameson Blender’s Dog, Yellow Spot, Auchentoshan, Aberlour 16 Year, and Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso. Tickets to the Whiskey Tasting are $45.
Nine of the world’s favorite Celtic bands will be taking the stage to perform and keep the party going. Albannach, Dublin City Ramblers, and Emish will perform on Saturday and Sunday. The Steel City Rovers, Seven Nations, House of Hamill, and Enter the Haggis will perform on Saturday only. Emmet Cahill and Rathkeltair will perform on Sunday only. John Miles will also offer lectures on the history of Scottish Tartans and the Viking colonization of the British Isles. A full schedule of performances can be found online.
The oldest recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world took place right here in St. Augustine in the year 1600. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is an annual celebration of St. Augustine’s Celtic heritage and the Emerald Isle’s most revered saint. With over 1,000 participants and thousands of spectators, lads and lasses converge upon the Ancient City each year, donning their tartans and green attire. The parade will take place at 10am on Saturday, March 10.
Originating in the Scottish Highlands during the 11th Century, Highland Games have long been a favorite spectacle, and they’re sure to be a major draw again. You’ll see some of the most impressive kilt-wearing athletes around challenge one another in traditional Scottish heavy athletics and strength competitions, including the Scottish weight throw, and the always entertaining caber toss. Over the centuries, Highland Games events have expanded to include entertainment and exhibits celebrating Scottish and Gaelic culture. Thousands of fans from throughout Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas turn out every year for the St. Augustine Celtic Festival Highland Games. The games will take place throughout the day both Saturday and Sunday.
For more information on the St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival, visit www.celticstaugustine.com. Images via the Festival.
To find more events in St. Augustine, visit our online calendar of events!