On Friday evening, Jan. 11, the Marathon Grill and Ale House, will host the third annual Kilts in The Keys Party. The musical group West of Galway will entertain along with a bagpipe procession, door prizes and raffles. Ale, spirits and refreshments will be plentiful.

The festival itself takes place on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 12-13 at Marathon Community Park. On day one, the festivities run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on day two they end a bit earlier, at 5 p.m. 

Attractions include world-renowned musical groups Albannach, Screaming Orphans, West of Galway and Brendan Nolan and Colin Farrell (see sidebar). Festival goers also have a chance to witness Highland Athletics — the original Strongman sport. The tournament will include a  sanctioned Women’s Highland Athletics Competition, Men’s Highland Athletic Demonstrations and the Official Florida Haggis Hurling Championship. Also returning is the Sheepdog Herding Demonstration. Throughout the day, visitors will be entertained by periodic “pipe and drums” demonstrations. A children’s glen for the wee ones is set for one corner of the festival grounds, and attendees can also partake of the Celtic food and beer for sale, and browse specialized Celtic vendors. 

On Sunday morning, Rev. Debra of the Saint Columba Episcopal Church will lead a special 10 a.m. service on the festival grounds. 

The festival is hosted and organized by the Saint Columba Episcopal Church in Marathon, Celtic Heritage Productions and The Monroe County Tourist Development Council. Proceeds for this event support the Hammock House’s free after-school program and summer camps providing continuing education, and nutrition.

Tickets ($10 per day) are available at the door, KeysTix.com or by calling 305-743-6412.

For more details, visit floridakeyscelticfestival.com.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Friday, Jan. 11
Kickoff party with West of Galway duo @ ? p.m. @ Marathon Grill

Saturday, Jan. 12 @ Marathon Community Park
11 a.m. — Festival gates open
11 a.m. — Brendan Nolan with Colin Farrell
11:45 a.m. — Drake Irish Dance
12:15 p.m. — Opening ceremonies and parade, Police Pipe & Drum Corps of Florida
12:30 p.m. — Albannach
1:30 p.m. — Screaming Orphans
2:30 p.m. — West of Galway
3:30 p.m. — Brendan Nolan with Colin Farrell
3 p.m. — Tai Chi demonstration on the field
4:30 p.m. — Drake Irish Dance
5:15 p.m. — Albannach
6 p.m. — Athletic awards presentation ceremony
6:15 p.m. — Screaming Orphans
7 p.m. — Candlelight Compline

Sunday, Jan. 13 @ Marathon Community Park
9:30 a.m. — Celtic Contemporary Worship, led by St. Columba Episcopal
11 a.m. — Festival gates open
11:15 a.m. — Police Pipe & Drum Corps of Florida
11:30 a.m. — Brendan Nolan and Colin Farrell
12:30 p.m. — Drake Irish Dancers
1:15 p.m. — West of Galway
2:30 p.m. — Albannach
3:30 p.m. — Screaming Orphans
4 p.m. — Raffle drawing for tiny house
5 p.m. — Gates close

Ongoing throughout festival:
• Performances by Police Pipe & Drum Corps of Florida
• Highland Athletic Competition
• Sheep Dog Herding Demonstration by Craigmalloch Farms
• Storytelling with John Miles

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