Florida Keys Celtic Festival to Feature Live Music, Culture and Fun Jan. 6-7
Celtic culture, music, food and history are to be celebrated at the annual Florida Keys Celtic Festival, a favorite family event in the Middle Keys set for Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 6-7, 2024.
The traditional Kilts in the Keys lead-in to the festival weekend spreads out to two Marathon locations Friday evening, Jan. 5. Attendees can gather starting at 5 p.m. at Dockside at Boot Key Harbor, 35 Sombrero Blvd., or at Keys Fisheries, 3502 Gulfview Ave. Two featured festival bands — Southwest Florida’s West of Galway Irish duo and the Police Pipe and Drum of Florida — are to make stops at each location.
The weekend festival is to be filled with Celtic musicians including Scottish band Albannach, West of Galway and Ireland’s the Byrne Brothers and high-energy four-sister group The Screaming Orphans.
Among traditional weekend highlights are the bagpipes and drums of the Police Pipe and Drum of Florida; a Highland Athletics competition, including the nation’s only sanctioned women’s Scottish Highland Games competition as well as men’s Highland athletics; sheep herding demonstrations; a Children’s Glen with games, fun activities and face painting; and Irish and Scottish dancing.
Other attractions include Celtic merchandise, offerings by local vendors and booths representing various Scottish clans. Rounding out the weekend’s festivities are authentic Celtic food and beverages including high tea in the Iona Tea Garden, shepherd’s pie at the Nessie Pub, vendors offering Scottish eggs and fish and chips, and a selection of Keys food vendors.
Wannabe runners can participate in the Zero K Nessie Fun Run, a “run” so short that it isn’t even measured. All registered participants receive a T-shirt and medal.
The festival takes place at Marathon Community Park, mile marker 49 oceanside. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The event supports Hammock House at St. Columba Episcopal Church that provides free after-school care and summer and school break camps for children in Marathon.
Single-day admission tickets for Saturday or Sunday are available in advance for $10 per person or $15 for a two-day pass. Tickets at the gate are $12 for a one-day ticket or $17 for a two-day pass. Children age 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. Parking is free.
Event information: floridakeyscelticfestival.com