25th Annual Elizabeth Celtic Festival

This was the 25th year for this festival, which has had its start in Kiowa for 13 years.  Originally known as the Kiowa Highland Games and Encampment, since the sponsoring organization was a living history group portraying a Civil War regiment of Scots and Irish from New York, the 79th Highlanders.  The festival moved the seven miles from Kiowa to Elizabeth in 2006, locating the event at beautiful Casey Jones Park in the pine forest on the east edge of town.

The Festival includes Dogs of the British Isles and Classic Cars of the British Isles in which they are carefully set apart to avoid chasing each other around. 

There are Living History Groups where history comes alive with stories and lessons of skills that are still of some use today. They range from weaving and sewing to traditional combat. For the youngsters, there is a wonderful Children’s Glen that allows them to play and create as their hearts desire.  Scottish and Irish Clans and organizations encourage patrons to stop by and learn more about the Clan and possibly their own past, along with amazing local Celtic music and dance, Merchants of all sorts, local Artisans and Crafter’s, delectable authentic Scottish and Irish food vendors, They have their own local Ice cream maker and rugby matches in which men’s teams and women’s teams showed spectators how to get the job done.

If you are looking for grace and beauty, then look no further than the Highland Dance competitions where traditions are kept alive within the beauty of dance. There are Solo Bag Piping competitions that stir the heart and maybe a tear from the eye. Finally, there is the calling of the Clans. This tradition happens at the end of the day when each Clan in turn steps out to a fire pit and announces themselves. They tell a little story or recite a poem and most of the time a gentle poke at themselves and the other Clans for things only past really knows.  In the end, everyone is family and thanks, praises, love, hugs and a whole lot of scotch are passed around. The Elizabeth Celtic Festival is an inexpensive family event that has something for everyone.

Photos by John Root