Flathead Celtic Festival

8th Annual Flathead Celtic Festival

The 2022 Flathead Celtic Festival is coming to town September 9 through 10, 2022. The festival will be held at the Centennial Farm located at 563 McMannamy Draw in Kalispell, Montana. The festival is dedicated to promoting, preserving, and exposing our community to Celtic culture for the educational benefit of the people in this region and its visitors. Flathead Celtic Festival Guests will enjoy music, dance, food an more.

Flathead Celtic Festival

2022 Flathead Celtic Festival Details

Highland Athletics

Caber Toss

A long log is stood upright and hoisted by the competitor who balances it vertically holding the smaller end in his hands. Then the competitor runs forward attempting to toss it in such a way that it turns end over end with the upper (larger) end striking the ground first. The smaller end that was originally held by the athlete then hits the ground in the 12 o’clock position measured relative to the direction of the run. If successful, the athlete is said to have turned the caber. Cabers vary greatly in length, weight, taper, and balance, all of which affect the degree of difficulty in making a successful toss. Competitors are judged on how closely their throws approximate the ideal 12 o’clock toss on an imaginary clock.

Weight Over the Bar

Also known as weight for height. The athletes attempt to toss a 56-pound (4-stone) weight with an attached handle over a horizontal bar using only one hand. Each athlete is allowed three attempts at each height. Successful clearance of the height allows the athlete to advance into the next round at a greater height. The competition is determined by the highest successful toss with fewest misses being used to break tie scores.

Sheaf Toss

A bundle of straw (the sheaf) weighing 20 pounds (9.1 kg) for the men and 10 pounds (4.5 kg) for the women and wrapped in a burlap bag is tossed vertically with a pitchfork over a raised bar much like that used in pole vaulting. The progression and scoring of this event is similar to the Weight Over the Bar. There is significant debate among athletes as to whether the sheaf toss is in fact an authentic Highland event. Some argue it is actually a country fair event, but all agree that it is a great crowd pleaser.

Scottish Hammer Throw

This event is similar to the hammer throw as seen in modern-day track and field competitions, though with some differences. In the Scottish event, a round metal ball (weighing 16 or 22 lb for men or 12 or 16 lb for women) is attached to the end of a shaft about 4 feet in length and made out of wood, bamboo, rattan, or plastic. With the feet in a fixed position, the hammer is whirled about one’s head and thrown for distance over the shoulder. Hammer throwers sometimes employ specially designed footwear with flat blades to dig into the turf to maintain their balance and resist the centrifugal forces of the implement as it is whirled about the head. This substantially increases the distance attainable in the throw.

Weight Throw

Also known as the weight for distance event. There are actually two separate events, one using a light (28 lb for men and 14 lb for women) and the other a heavy (56 lb for men, 42 lb for masters men, and 28 lb for women) weight. The weights are made of metal and have a handle attached either directly or by means of a chain. The implement is thrown using one hand only, but otherwise using any technique. Usually a spinning technique is employed. The longest throw wins at the 2021 Flathead Celtic Festival.

2022 Flathead Celtic Festival Entertainment

Katy Meyers took to the folk harp like a duck to water in 1998. She has been involved in several local music groups and has taken classes at the Irish Harp Centre in Castleconnell Ireland with Janet Harbison.

Kelly Garber – 88 Keys To Happiness
Growing up in a Mennonite/Amish community in Ohio, Kelly was very fortunate to take piano lessons at a young age where she discovered her passion for music, not realizing that one day it would be her career! She was heavily influenced by Irish music and would occasionally attempt to figure out the monstrosity that was her Mother’s vintage accordion, which led to her buying a small, much more manageable accordion only several years ago. Piano is still her first and main love, but the accordion is right on its tail.

An Daire Academy of Irish Dance was founded in 2006 by the husband & wife team of Jim Mueller, ADCRG and Lauren Crowe-Mueller, ADCRG, Oregon’s only certified Irish dance adjudicators. In 2020, after several workshops in Kalispell over the years, the opportunity for an An Daire Academy branch came to Kalispell. The Kalispell branch is led by director, Claire Gutschenritter. Like the oak tree from which the name An Daire comes, our dancers learn the benefits of hard work, strong character and deep roots in an environment focused on family, fun and fitness!

The Shamrockers
American-made Celtic music. Vocally-driven Irish quartet captivates with a unique brand of musicianship and humor. Traditional and original Celtic tunes, from toe-tappers to hanky-soakers, have graced venues from schools and churches to brewpubs to national festivals and Highland Games, all the way to Ireland.

Irish Folk and Fun
George and Diane Cowan playing mandolin, guitar, harmonica, and mountain dulcimer with friends, Linda Harshbarger adding in on the tin whistle and Gail Parrish on the electric bass. We strive to create a remembrance of those songs and tunes heard in childhood or Irish celebrations through the years and add humor with Irish jokes

The Missoula Irish Dancers was founded in 2005 in Missoula, Montana by students attending the University of Montana. Irish dance is a traditional art of the Irish culture, which is shared with the Missoula community and surrounding areas through teaching and performing for the public. Our mission is to preserve the Irish culture by way of teaching traditional Irish step dancing to new generations of dancers and performing.

Scottish Highland Dancing is a celebration of the Scottish spirit. The dances are a spectacular combination of strength, agility, movement, music, and costume. Unlike other dance mediums, Highland dances are generally danced solo and in competition, by both men and women equally. Dancers typically dance to traditional Scottish music such as Strathspeys, Reels, Hornpipes and Jigs all played by an accompanying bagpiper.

Second Wind
Jason Foy is a lifelong musician, whose deft artistry on flute and whistles anchors this duo. His mandolin playing and his spirited accompaniment on guitar makes for an exciting ride. Jason’s musical expertise includes djembe and bongos, which add rhythmic interest as well as a gleeful spirit. Barbara Calm introduces herself as a veterinarian and musician from NW Montana. Her hammered dulcimer drives the rhythm and fills a room with warm vibrating sound. Playing the octave mandolin weaves lilting harmonies atop the rhythm, while her newest instrument, the Irish Bouzouki, is a treasured addition from a recent sojourn to Ireland. Barbara also plays penny whistle and guitar, and may add her marimba or trombone on occasion. Together they are Second Wind. Their background is in Celtic traditions and to these roots they remain true most of the time! They find joy in experimental approaches to traditional tunes and continually find new inspiration from some great contemporary bands from Ireland and the British Isles.

Max Armstrong is an electric/acoustic fiddle player who has been perfecting his art for 15 years and has recently finished achieving his associates degree in music. Voted into the top 10 finalists of Flathead’s Got Talent, Max plays a variety of Celtic music as well as some modern violin tunes that make for an extremely engaging and energetic performance. Max plays in Celtic and rock bands across Montana as well as his only solo shows.

Check out the 2021 Flathead Celtic Festival Website – HERE.

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