Celebrating our heritage at the Celtic Festival

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Photo: Photo courtesy of Quebec Celtic Festival

Celtic dancers wow a crowd in front of the Morrin Centre.

Quebec City's Celtic Festival is back again for its eighth edition. Festivities will take place from August 29 to September 8 on the Chaussée des Écossais site at the Morrin Centre and at various pubs and bistros around Quebec.

One need not look far in Quebec to find someone with Celtic roots. Indeed, the majority of Quebecers of European descent have Breton, Cornish, Irish, Manx, Scottish or Welsh lineage. Quebec's heritage has been shaped by this Celtic presence within our communities, whcih is still expressed through music, dance and customs. For this reason, the Celtic Festival of Quebec wishes to better inform the general public about the culture of the Celtic peoples by celebrating their heritage.

This year, there are several new events to enjoy. The festival starts off with an event inspired by Gathering Ireland 2013, whose aim is to mobilise the Irish diaspora to return to Ireland. The Quebec 'Gathering' will take place on Thursday August 29 at l'Auberge Internationale de Québec, and a night of singing and dancing to live music is planned.

The following evening, an exclusive outdoor concert will be given by Paddy Keenan accompanied by his friend, singer and guitarist Tommy O'Sullivan. Keenan is considered the most accomplished Irish bagpiper of his generation, and has been touring the world for the last 15 years. He music is drawn from traditional Celtic repertoire, and he plays his Uilleann pipes in the Travelling Piper style known for its fast tempo and legato fingering.

There will be a Celtic parade, an evening of tales and legends by storyteller and violinist Arleen Thibaut, three separate evenings of whiskey and beer tasting, an Astérix and Obélix Celtic Banquet at St Patrick's High School, a Breton inspired traditional dancing festival known as Fest-Noz, and typical Scottish parties known as Ceilids (pronounced kay-lee) where you can tap your feet to traditional music and dance in the streets to the sound of violins, accordions and bagpipes.

The Celtic Festival will also launch its first official Highland Games at St Patrick's High School on Sunday September 8, starting at 12:00 p.m. There will be five heavyweight athletes showing off their prowess in five official events: the 17 lb Open Stone, the 56 lb Weight for Distance, the 22 lb Hammer Throw, the Caber Toss, and the 56 lb Weight for Height. The audience is invited to join in the festive "test" of throwing a St. Ambroise beer barrel, or to try their luck at interactive workshops with the athletes.

The complete program and reservations are available at www.festivalceltique.com. Please note that booking and fees are required for some activities.