By MARCIA LANE
St. Augustine is wearing the green early with St. Patrick’s Day festivities this weekend (March 10-12) and a St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday (March 11).
It’s all a tie in to the family-friendly 2017 Celtic Music and Heritage Festival at Francis Field. This heritage three-day festival celebrates St. Patrick’s Day and the sights, sounds and tastes of the ancient Celtic people os Scotland and Ireland. Celtic clans from around the world come to show their ancestral pride, athletes demonstrate their strength at the Highland Games and Celtic music rings out throughout the weekend. Vendors as well as local downtown restaurants offer up Celtic cuisine and handmade crafts. Even the children’s area has a Celtic theme.
The festival kicks off Friday (March 10) with a whiskey tasting at 7 p.m. in the VIP Tent at Francis Field. Tasting is $45 per person and features seven premium brands of Irish and Scotch whiskeys. Live music on the hammered dulcimer by Robert Burns. (No, not that Robert Burns.)
On Saturday the St. Patrick’s Day Parade begins at 10 a.m. from Francis Field, heads through downtown and then back to the field for the festival where gates open at 11 a.m. and live entertainment begins at noon with two stages set up.
On Sunday gates open at 11 a.m. and the festival end at at 7 p.m. Bands, several international, play throughout the day.
Going on throughout the festival will be Highland Games. You’ll see some of the most impressive kilt-wearing athletes around challenge one another in traditional Scottish heavy athletics and strength competitions, including the weight throw, the Scottish hammer throw and the always entertaining caber toss.