BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Whether you're looking to chow down on some on traditional Highland fare or indulge the kids with family fun, the 34th annual Celtic Classic has something for everyone.
"Like haggis, and bangers and mash, and fish and chips, but you'll also get mainstream," said Jayne Ann Recker, executive director of the Celtic Cultural Alliance. "We have ice cream and chicken fingers as well."
In addition to a variety of food, there are plenty of ways to engage with the Celtic culture.
"Children's activities going on, cultural lectures and demonstrations," Recker said of the weekend's offerings. "We have Scottish clans and societies represented. They can help you with your genealogy."
As for the classic Celtic sounds, Recker says, "As soon as you hear those bagpipes, there's nothing like it."
The weekend features five free stages of Celtic music, fan favorites like border collie herding, and, of course, the national champions of the Celtic Classic Highland Games.
"They're all feats of strength," Recker said. "Highland games started in ancient Scotland … Some say it was how they prepared for war. Others say it's how they tried to impress farmers in order to get their daughter's hand in marriage."
This year's Celtic Classic Highland Games and Festival is the place to be over the weekend, with dozens of vendors with high-quality and authentic Celtic merchandise also on display.
The festival dates back to the 1980s and typically draws hundreds of thousands people. After being cancelled last year, it's likely to be a much-needed boost for many area businesses.
"We don't spend any money more than 10 miles out from where we're standing," Recker said. "The money that is spent here — it's about economic impact. It's about supporting these local businesses, family-owned companies that helped us build it … It's more than just a festival."
The festival runs through 7 p.m. Sunday.