May. 17, 2012
The 25th annual McHenry Highland Festival will be held June 1-3, celebrating the local Scottish, Irish and Welsh peoples and heritage. A significant migration of Celtics to this region took place in the 18th and 19th centuries, with the Highlander pioneers working on the railroads, and as farmers, miners, and loggers.
For this landmark year, Gregan Crawford, a Garrett County commissioner, will to serve as the 2012 Honorary Clan Chieftain.
“Of Scottish descent, Crawford’s love of Garrett County began early at the age of 11 when his family purchased a 150-acre farm in the Pleasant Valley area south of Oakland in 1974,” a spokesperson said. “He moved permanently to the county in 1989 and has worked as a carpenter and a real estate agent, along with his elected position.
The McHenry Highland Festival will kick off with a Celtic concert at the Wisp Resort on Friday evening, June 1, featuring Prydein, a rock Celtic-roots band that was part of last year’s festival.
The festival at the Garrett County Fairgrounds will begin in the morning of Saturday, June 2, offering concerts, Celtic food, and a wide array of vendors. The group Clandestine, known for a “hard-driving, toe-tapping” Texas Celtic sound, will perform, as well as Allegany County’s Shanty Irish, and a special guest appearance by Scottish fiddler Bonnie Rideout.
There will be five traditional marching bagpipe bands, as well as the Highland athletics and Irish and Scottish dance demonstrations. Trained border collies will give sheep- and goose-herding demonstrations, and there will be a Celtic dog parade, as well as an exhibit of Highland cattle.
The traditional Sunday Kirkin’ o’ the Tartans will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Deer Park, with music by the Garrett Highlands Pipes and Drums. This event will conclude the weekend of activities.
The festival is supported by the Maryland State Arts Council, the Garrett County Arts Council, and other area supporters.
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