What a spectacular! Car parking was banked back hundreds of metres in either direction of the Warwick Showgrounds yesterday, crowds poured in, programs and maps were handed out by smiling volunteers to incoming patrons eager to follow the sound of the bagpipes, and so the adventure began. A grand way to celebrate the return of festivals and the sun was shining on this inaugural event hoping to cement Warwick as Queensland’s Celtic Capital.
And of course it gave me the chance to proudly wear my Clan Forsyth kilt, and my McPhail Clan sash and reflect on my Scottish and Scots-Irish heritage.
Drawn to the applause coming from the stands around the main show ring, we were entertained by the efforts of brawny men hurling things; the Lighthorse charges and displays and the various local and visiting bands. A great way to start the day! And the crowd kept building.
Moving on to where the strains of the singing and playing of mixed ages and instruments stirred our Celtic blood, we ear-marked the wines and ales for later. Characters wandered freely in the well spaced grounds and people watching was part of the fun….and the strains of voices and music floated from many directions – which way now?
Intrigued by the sign, we followed the sounds of children captivated by the hairy highland beasts – and were just as captivated!
Wandering past the majestic Clydesdale horses, we could hear the clash of broad swords and the clang of armour……and before we knew it, we were deep in the heart of a Medieaval Village.
Expecting nothing, we were soon fully engaged in the various displays, demonstrations of weaving and armoury, cooking and tale telling from groups who certainly take their hobbies very seriously. Onions and bread seemed to be the common food stuffs – which of course started our search for something a bit more enticing for lunch.
Food vendors were plentiful, with the usual offerings. Queues were long at the much loved Shannon’s Chip Van, but the crowd’s social distancing manners shone through, and a short wait in the mild sunlight was easy. Lunch was enjoyed under shady trees. Being entertained by the belly dancers with a touch of tartan on their costumes while we ate was a bonus – and not an onion in sight!
While waiting for the dance performances, we watched the nerve-racking tossing of the caber – highland games in Warwick – who would have thought it!
Of course, festivals invariably bring a variety of stalls and static displays, and Celtic Fest was no different. Clan displays, book sellers, garments and every accessory you might require to join the villagers and their age-old reenactments were there – spoilt for choice! LSM (Long Suffering Male) actually found his ancestral clan tartan and it has already found a place in his family history memorabilia.
Hearty congratulations to the organisers who had put so much planning and effort in to the program and presentation. If the aim was to have this as an ongoing event, then today’s success should ensure that.
Then it was back to that challenge of the parking……..Sliante!