Dancers from the Drake School of Irish Dance perform.

Sheepdog demonstrations, the Highland Games, and some of the finest Celtic music and dance brought the Florida Keys Celtic Festival roaring back to life at the Marathon Community Park on Jan. 8 and 9. After a one-year COVID hiatus in 2021, the annual benefit for the Hammock House at St. Columba Episcopal Church found great success in its 2022 return.

“We had the best festival we’ve ever had,” said St. Columba’s Rev. Debra Maconaughey. “The crowd was so friendly and warm, and I can’t say enough good things about the entertainment.”

Maconaughey said attendees, entertainers, and vendors were all supportive of the serious underlying purpose behind such a fun festival. “People received our message very warmly, and they’re happy to be helping with children in our community,” she said. “The vendors even gave us donations for the Hammock House because they had such a great festival and they heard our message.”

The weekend was such a success that next year’s dates have already been set for Jan. 7-8, 2023.

Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.