On July 12 and 13, residents of Washtenaw County gathered at Mill Pond Park to celebrate Saline's 24th Annual Celtic Festival.
Since 1996, attendees have demonstrated a strong interest in the world of culture and music education, performances, exhibitions, as well as those interested in other cultural aspects such as dance, theater, storytelling, and sporting events.
For the past 15 years Saline local, Jim Peters has served on the festival's executive committee. It is the committee's job to book bands, make arrangements for athletics, living history groups, dance venues, food vendors, artisans and crafts, field entertainment, facilities, community involvement, and so much more.
Peters not only serves on the executive committee, he runs a field venue on festival day: Millie the Mill Pond Monster.
"Millie and her family of loch ness style monsters are large stage props made of wood and steel installed in the river for that day," Peter said. "The monsters are 24 feet and move up and down in sections independent of each other (controlled by festival goers pulling ropes on shore). The monsters rise and fall while breathing smoke along with a backdrop of a Viking ship and medieval castle. It's a crowd favorite."
Every year, over 350 local volunteers give hundreds of hours over the course of a year planning for this event.
"There is no paid administrative staff and no city tax dollars are spent on the festival," Peters said.
When asked how the Saline Celtic Festival is beneficial for the community, Peters stated that both culture and community play a big role.
"One can see 80 bagpipers and drummers playing and marching, 50 Highland athletes preforming feats of strength, 90 Irish and Scottish dance competition participants, jousting, sheep-herding, textiles being woven from wool, Living History, and Saline's very own Loch Ness Monster, Millie; all enjoyed along with your friends and family in a beautiful park setting,“ Peters said. "The Celtic Festival is Saline's flagship festival enriching our community. We have something for everyone.”
Even though the 2019 Saline Celtic Festival has concluded, keep your calendar open for next year’s festival, as this event shows no signs of stopping.