Bethlehem, PA – September 12, 2023 – The Celtic Cultural Alliance (CCA) is excited to announce the return of the Celtic Classic happening September 22nd – 24th. Celtic Classic is the largest free Celtic festival in North America! Five stages of world-renowned Celtic entertainers will fill downtown Bethlehem with the sounds of tin whistles, fiddles and of course bagpipes!
There are many new names this year coming from Isle of Man, Scotland, Ireland and Texas. Being introduced for the first time will be: Mec Lir (Isle of Man), On the Lash (Ireland), Heron Valley (Scotland) and Jiggernaut (Texas). These bands range from traditional to Celtic rock and fusion. They will keep toes tapping and inspire a jig or two. Local favorites Craig Thatcher & Nyke Van Wyck return with their Celtic repertoire along with Piper’s Request and Blackwater. Tempest makes a grand return bringing a globally-renowned hybrid of high-energy folk rock, fusing Irish reels, Scottish ballads and Norwegian influences with other world music.
The U.S. National Highland Games Championship will see the top pro highland athletes in the country competing for the title of National Champion. John Van Beuren returns to defend his title.
The event kicks off Friday with Haggis Bowl 2023 taking place on Highland Field at 5:30 to see who can eat a pound of haggis the fastest.
The Showing of the Tartan Parade will be one of the largest ever. The parade steps off from City Hall at 11:30am on Saturday, 09/23. Nine competing pipe bands will participate along with the U.S. Naval Academy Pipe Band, Scottish clans, Freedom and Liberty High School marching bands. The Grade 4 pipe band competition will take place on Saturday beginning at 1:30pm. This will be one of the largest Grade 4 competitions of the season with bands from as far away as Tennessee participating. Grade 3 will compete on Sunday at 12:00.
Celtic Heritage Hollow located in the Colonial Industrial Quarter has loads of activities for children, 15 Scottish clans will be present to share historical and genealogical information and Heritage Stage will have interesting lectures such as Irish Keening by Annie Wilson, Welsh Miners & Engineers in 19th century PA
Lecture by Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and Highland Wear by USA Kilts. O’Grady Quinlan Academy of Irish Dance will hold an interactive demonstration and don’t miss Freedom High School’s Celtic Ensemble.
There will be food galore ranging from haggis, bridies, bangers & mash to poutine and crab cakes! Save to time peruse the 50 Celtic merchants with goods from all seven Celtic nations like apparel, jewelry, décor and more.
The 36th Annual Celtic Classic Highland Games & Festival runs from Friday, September 22nd through Sunday, September 24th, 2023, in Historic Downtown Bethlehem. For up-to-the-minute information and updates, follow Celtic Classic on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@CelticClassic).
For more information on the Celtic Classic, directions, volunteering opportunities, the weekend’s schedule, and other Celtic Cultural Alliance events, visit the organization’s website at www.celticfest.org.
Find Us On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @CelticClassic.
About the Celtic Cultural Alliance
On Columbus Day weekend in 1988, the first Celtic Classic was presented by a small group of individuals. The goal of this dedicated group was to create an event that symbolized the Celtic spirit and history, and to provide the impetus for an organization that focused on promoting the Celtic culture. This group has now evolved into Celtic Cultural Alliance to better communicate the overall goals of the organization.
The CCA has expanded with year-round programming to support the mission of promoting and preserving Celtic Culture through arts, music, literature, dance, and history programs. In keeping with the spirit of “Next Generation”, the CCA also offers scholarships to promising young students of the Celtic Arts. These yearly scholarships are offered to students of the arts, including Irish Step Dance, Highland Dance, Fiddle, and Bagpipes.
The Celtic Classic has blossomed into one of the largest Highland Games and Celtic Festivals in North America. Annually, over 200,000 visitors come to Historic Bethlehem to join in this celebration of all things Celtic. The organization has expanded into year-round programs. Our educational programming has expanded to include community outreach events in area school districts, religious institutions, local theaters and colleges throughout the Lehigh Valley. A series of scholarships are awarded each year in varied areas of Celtic culture.
Celtic Classic Highland Games & Festival, Parade of Shamrocks and Lehigh Valley HopsFest and CCA event logos are trademarks of Celtic Cultural Alliance in the U.S. and/or other countries.
© 2021 Celtic Classic- Highland Games & Festival.
All Rights Reserved.
Information provided to TVL by:
Jayne Ann M. Recker
Executive Director – Celtic Cultural Alliance