2014 Celtic Festival announces its fall program: a new activity for everyone

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Photo: Shirley Nadeau

Pipe Major Alan Stairs, Derek White, Farnell Morisset, Slavka, Allison Caughey, Guy Morisset and Jake McMitchell were present to announce the Kilt Run and other new activities planned for this year's Celtic Festival. Cabers and beer kegs will be tossed during the Highland Games.

Guy Morisset, president of the Quebec City Celtic Festival, convened a press conference last Thursday at the Kiosk des Gouverneurs on the heights of the Plains of Abraham, overlooking the St. Lawrence River. He took the opportunity to announce a new sports activity that will be added to the 9th Celtic Festival, to be held from September 3 to 7, 2014. A kilt run!

Morriset explained that the five-kilometre fun run will be held on Saturday, September 6, bringing together kilted runners and walkers. Instead of being given a T-shirt upon arrival, each participant will receive a kilt. Run organizer Allison Caughey explained, "Participants have the choice of wearing the official Festival kilt or another they may already own, but they must wear a kilt and not a skirt." The event is open to adults and young people aged 12 and older. Those interested in taking part can sign up now on the Festival's website.

Morriset said, "There are two cities named Perth, one in Ontario the other in Scotland, which are competing for the Guinness World Record for the largest kilt race. In June 2012, a running club in Perth, Ontario, won with 1,764 participants. We're not going to go there this year, but we might get half-way there by next year, and in the book of World Records by 2050!"

"Kilt runs" are held annually in Perth, Scotland; closer to home, in Antigonish and Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Perth, Ontario; and in the U.S., in Mansaquan, New Jersey, and Sand Lake, New York. Organizers are hoping to continue to expand the Celtic Festival which, in the past nine years, has grown from a small local festival to one that filled Rue Saint-Jean with the first-ever street céilidh (a party, pronounced kay-lee) last year.

The Quebec City Celtic Festival also hopes to set a new record for the world's largest street céilidh. Morriset said, "We're in competition with Edinburgh and the little towns in Scotland, but we're hoping to have the biggest one in North America. It could happen!"

The festival also announced an addition to the athletic aspect of the Festival: hurling, which is known as the "fastest game on grass." It is a combination of lacrosse, baseball and hockey, and is played with an axe-shaped wooden stick. The classic Highland Games have also been enhanced with Gaelic football (the provincial championship will be held here in Quebec City). The final event of the Highland Games will be the McAulsan keg toss. The results of this event are measured in distance: who can throw the keg the farthest. It is the only event not considered for athletes' national ranking as it is a friendly competition. Festival goers will also have the opportunity to challenge the athletes during this event.

The festival will all be enriched with cultural activities, talks, and evenings of tales and legends. The site at the Chaussée des Écossais, among others, will present a variety of family activities.

The Celtic Festival's complete program will be unveiled in June on its website: http://festivalceltique.com