The Tyler Celtic Fest kicks off Friday with four days of music, food, games, vendors, storytellers, contests and more.
The festival, hosted by Jericho Co Productions, is a celebration of Celtic history and culture.
“This is our 11th year and it is a celebration of the Scottish, Irish and Welsh cultures,” owner George Jones said. “There are a lot of descendants from Scotland, Ireland and Wales, so we kind of do a celebration with a little bit of history, dancing, music and all kinds of good things like that.”
Jones said the festival will include lots of music and other entertainment.
“We'll have an entire Scottish bagpipe and drum band and we have a Celtic rock and roll band,” he said. “And we have belly dancers, singers and the Highland games."
Other activities include ax throwing, archery and spear toss.
“Plus, there are lots of vendors that sell wares that are made specifically for, and or by, descendants of those particular countries,” Jones said.
This year's festival is spread out over four days.
“It’s normally three days but we decided to move it to Memorial Day weekend and run it for four days and see what happens,” Jones said.
Among the different activities, the event includes several that are huge hits with festivalgoers.
“They love the bagpipers and we have a blacksmithing demonstration that’s pretty popular. People like to come watch him make all sorts of things,” Jones said. "The vendors are spectacular because we have everything from people who sell costumes to people who do home cooking and things like that."
Another activity that draws a crowd is the Celtic Knot Ceremony, which, according to Jones, can be a wedding, promise ceremony, engagement or renewal of vows.
“It’s really beautiful because we do it in this grove of trees and there are different ribbons you get to pick out that mean different things. Each ribbon color means a different thing that you are offering to your partner,” he said. “You twist those together while your officiant is saying their lines and then you tie them around your wrist into a knot, meaning that you have tied the knot.”
Organizers are hoping for a big turnout over the four days.
“Before the pandemic hit us we were doing around 3,000 for the weekend and then it lowered,” Jones said. “We’re trying to get back up to where we were.”
As the festival continues to grow, Jones said it will soon outgrow its present location at The Grove.
“I’m probably going to have to find a bigger space because we’re about to outgrow where we are and we’ve already moved once,” he said. “We started downtown in the Goodman Park at the Goodman Museum and we outgrew that after three years.”