March is the month that everyone waits for. It’s the month when spring begins, animals awake from hibernation, flowers begin to bloom and we get to enjoy longer days. It also boasts the one holiday of the year when everyone embraces Irish Heritage even if they aren’t Irish. St. Augustine is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in their own way by holding their Celtic Music and Heritage Festival from March 11th until March 13th at Francis Field on Castillo Drive.
The event will include several different musical performances throughout the weekend. On Friday Night, the Dublin Tenors and Celtic Ladies will perform at the Memorial Presbyterian Church. The two musical groups have joined together on their tour and will be in St. Augustine for only one night. Guests will enjoy a unique blend of famous Irish classics, Opera, Pop and Swing, and the group has garnered great performance reviews. Tickets for this concert can be purchased here.
Additionally, on Saturday and Sunday nearly 20 different performers will play throughout the day on two different stages with the live music playing nonstop from 11 am until 10 pm.
To go along with the Celtic Music portion of the Celtic Music and Heritage Festival, there will also be some fun and games. On Saturday and Sunday, the festival will be hosting its own highland games! Beginning at 10 am, kilt wearing athletes will be able to test their skill and strength by participating in the Traditional Scottish Heavy Athletics and Strength competition. Events will include a weight throw, Scottish Hammer throw, Caber Toss, Sheaf toss and also an open stone put.
If you are interested in being part of the competition- You can be! The entry fee is $25 and there will be a clinic offered on Friday introducing and training anyone who is interested in competing as an athlete. All competitors will be competing only with those in their class, which is based on sex, weight and age. Entry costs include athletic participation, free festival general admission and free lunch on the day of competition. (In my opinion it’s a steal!)
In addition to the Highland Games, the event will also be putting on a special competition for the public. Those who are over 21 and sign up before noon on Saturday will be able to participate in the Keg Carry Competition taking place at 1 pm that same day. The person who carries an 87lb. keg the farthest distance in one minute will win a free pony keg!
For those not interested in watching athletics, there will also be other events for all ages. A parade will take place in downtown St. Augustine that will end at Francis Field. This parade is the only St. Patrick’s Day parade in Northeast Florida and is considered one of the largest parades in the city.
For those who are looking to celebrate in a more adult fashion, the festival will also be putting on a Whiskey Tasting on Friday at 7pm. Sponsored by the iconic Jameson Irish Whiskey company, event attendees can taste a variety of whiskeys while a brand ambassador describes the different background of each one they sample. Tickets for this event are purchased separately and can be bought here.
This event provides a great experience for everyone to release their Irish spirit and learn about the Celtic Culture. Tickets are $10 on the day of or are $7 in ordered in advance. Retired and Active Military with current ID will get in free as well as Children 12 and under. Advanced tickets can be purchase in person or online at Ann O’Malley’s Irish Pub or Barley Republic Irish Pub. To learn more about this event and to look at the events schedule, click here.