Celtic Festival Seeks Volunteers
Service Organizations and Local Businesses Invited to Participate

Before the thundering sounds of Celtic rock fills The Keys this winter, more than a few fair folk will need to roll up their sleeves and maybe even dance a jig to make it happen. Organizers for the Florida Keys Celtic Festival are seeking volunteers to help plan and implement the second annual festival taking place January 9 and 10 at Marathon Community Park. Individuals, service organizations and teams from local businesses are invited to participate.

“We want this to be a real community effort,” said The Reverend Canon Debra Andrew Maconaughey of St. Columba Episcopal Church. The Church produces the weekend event in collaboration with Celtic Heritage Productions of Port Charlotte. The festival is set to kick off with a Kilts in The Keys party at Marathon Grill in the Gulfside Village on January 8, followed by two days of live Celtic bands, Highland athletics, pipes and drums, Celtic food and merchandise vendors, plus a Children’s Glen with activities for the wee ones at the Community Park. And, there’s a rumor that the Conchness Monster, a distant relative to Nessie, may make an appearance.

Festival attendance was more than 1700 for the two-day event in 2014, with about half of the attendants visiting from outside The Keys. Organizers expect an even larger crowd for the 2015 festival. “Our goal is to build an annual cultural event our community can be proud to be a part of,” said Maconaughey.

Volunteer needs include developing and designing creative projects, manning the entry, ticket sales, crowd control, survey taking, set-up and clean-up. Volunteers will receive free entry to the event and an official event t-shirt.

Local non-profits and service organizations are invited to have booths, for free, during the festival and also encouraged to include a Celtic link in promoting their own causes. “We’d like everyone get into the Celtic spirit for the weekend,” said Bill Lorimer who volunteers his time to help plan the festival. Local businesses are also welcome to join with their own teams of volunteers or by participating as an event sponsor. Festival sponsors get great PR and visibility in local, regional and national newspaper and web advertising. Additionally, sponsors receive entry tickets, event booth space and recognition in the official Festival Event Program.

Proceeds from the festival benefit the church’s Hammock House Youth Programs that provide Marathon children and youth with a free, healthy environment where they can thrive emotionally, artistically, intellectually and spiritually. “The Hammock House budget is $50,000 a year and proceeds from this festival will help alleviate some of the financial stress we’ve experienced over the past few years,” Maconaughey said. Hammock House After School Care and Just for Fun Summer & School Break Camps were born out of concern for Middle Keys children who may not have enough to eat when school is out, and who lack of affordable, supervised summer recreation. This free program is available to all children of Marathon, providing a healthy, creative environment when school is out of session.

To sign up as a volunteer or learn more about the Second Annual Florida Keys Celtic Festival, please contact festival volunteer coordinator Toni Hindman at thindman2001@hotmail.com. Business interested in becoming a sponsor can contact Bill Lorimer at wmlorimer@yahoo.com.

Remember, it takes more than a few potatoes and a keg of Guinness to throw a festival.

Attached Photo:

Scottish rock band Albannach rocked The Keys at last year’s Florida Keys Celtic Festival. Festival organizers are seeking volunteers to help create a weekend of Celtic Culture in Conch country on January 9 and 10, 2015. Photo Credit: Florida Keys Celtic Festival

celtic festival pic

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