Celtic Festival

15th Annual Cortland Celtic Festival – August 22-23, 2015

Posted by  //  August 19, 2015  //  News

The 15th Annual Cortland Celtic Festival to be held on August 22/23 is just around the corner!!  For the 4th year in a row, the venue is the absolutely beautiful Dwyer Memorial Park in Little York, NY.   It’s a grand place to wander and enjoy the festivities or take advantage of the numerous picnic tables to sit back, relax, have a bite to eat.

Happily, , the Finger Lakes Pipe and Drum band will perform both Saturday and Sunday.  As well Matt Hand is again bringing his Strong & Far Highland Games male and female athletes back this year to compete for 2 days.  Some foldable chairs will be available however, for those of  you who are diehard games spectators, you might want to bring your own comfortable seating.  Additionally, we will have food vendors, Irish Step Dancers, continuous musical performers on stage – including one who will throw in some story telling and Gaelic Language lessons. There will be craft vendors and an area set aside for kid’s activities.  This year we welcome Cortland Beer Company to our Pub Tent.

Collecting information from our attendees when you get your ticket helps us in a couple of different ways.  First, by telling us how you heard about our festival  you let us know how our advertising dollars are working.  Funding from Cortland County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is directly proportionate to what we spend on advertising.  That means we rely heavily on ticket money to pay for the events you enjoy.  Unlike many other festivals, people do not visit us primarily to purchase from our vendors, although those folks certainly welcome the business.  Entertainment,  such as music and dance, and in our case highland games, is the lion’s share of what draws people to any cultural event.  In a nutshell, various costs incurred by us are:  bands on stage, collectively – $2300; athletes – $2600; pipe band – $1500;.  Add to that the cost of tents, chairs, generator, insurance, porta-johns, and security –  $4,000.  As you can see, it adds up quickly in expenses that the casual festival participant might not be aware of.   Back in time we could count on sponsorship to help us out, however, since the recession, much of that funding has gone away.   Secondly,  your address tells us from how far away we are attracting people and that general information is what our Visitor’s Bureau wants to see – us showing off that beautiful park and people coming from far and wide to experience the amenities that Cortland County has to offer.  Last year half of the attendees hailed from Cortland and surrounding areas and half from the Syracuse area, while approximately 100 people came from outside CNY – including Rochester, Albany, Alexandria Bay, and out of state, including Canada!

There is always room for more vendors  (we could never fill the area) so if you or someone you know would like to join us, please visit our website:  cortlandcelticfestival.com to find the vendor application.  The more the merrier!!

Finally, if you are someone who would like to help out in one of various ways, we would like to hear from you.  We are always looking out for folks to help decorate and set up the day before the event (8/21), help with children’s activities, or assist at the info tent.  We meet monthly and welcome newcomers to our committee as we have tried to make this festival bigger and better each year.

In closing, thanks very much to those of you who make the Cortland Celtic Festival and annual destination.  We hope many more newcomers join the fun in 2015 – see you soon!!!



Brenda McIntosh-Clark, President


Schedule of Events

Saturday August 22

Pub Tent:

10:30 – 11:30 Keith Ian Neal, Soloist

12:00 – 1:30 Deidre McCarthy & Family, Story teller, Musician

2:00 – 3:45 Merry Mischief, Duet

4:00 – 5:00 Quona Hudson, Soloist


Dance Pavilion:

11:00 Rince Na Sonas Irish Dance School


Both Days:   Finger Lakes Pipes and Drums Pipe Band – various times.


Sunday August 23

Pub Tent:

11:00 – 11:45 Quona Hudson, Soloist

12:15 – 1:15 Keith Ian Neal, Soloist

1:30 – 2:45 Merry Mischief, Duet

3:00 – 3:45 Morganeagle Falconry Demonstration

Dance Pavilion:

12:00 McDonald School of Irish Dance

1:00 Ring of Chiarraighe Celtic Dancers

2:00 Drumcliffe School of Irish Arts

2:45 Free Irish dance lessons with Drumcliffe instructor Brittany O’Reilly

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