THIS WEEKEND: FLORIDA KEYS CELTIC FESTIVAL ROCKS MARATHON COMMUNITY PARK

The Police Pipe & Drum Corps will return to the fields at Marathon Community Park for the Florida Keys Celtic Festival this weekend. BARRY GAUKEL/Keys Weekly

After a one-year hiatus in 2021, Marathon’s celebration of Celtic history, culture, food and music will return in full force at this weekend’s Florida Keys Celtic Festival. The event is set to kick off on Friday, Jan. 7 at Dockside Boot Key Harbor before the main event fills the Marathon Community Park on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 8-9. 

High caliber performances from Celtic rock and traditional musicians, including Scottish band Albannach, Southwest Florida’s West of Galway, Irish performers Byrne brothers and the four-sister Screaming Orphans, will fill the park’s stage all day. Other highlights including a Highland Athletics competition, sheep herding demonstrations, and performances by the Police Pipe & Drum Corps and Blue Skye Pipes and Drums will round out the day, along with food, beverage and merchandise offerings by local vendors.

Single-day admission tickets are available for $10 per person or $15 for a two-day pass. Children age 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. Parking is free. More information is available at floridakeyscelticfestival.com.

FRIDAY, JAN. 7 – AT DOCKSIDE BOOT KEY HARBOR

5-7 p.m. Kickoff Party with West of Galway Duo & Police Pipe and Drum 

SATURDAY, JAN. 8 – AT MARATHON COMMUNITY PARK, 10 A.M.-8 P.M.

Entertainment Schedule 

10:00 a.m. Women’s Highland Athletic Competition

11:00 a.m. West of Galway

12:00 p.m. The Byrne Brothers

12:45 p.m. Drake Irish Dance

1:15 p.m. Opening Ceremonies & Parade led by Police Pipe & Drum of Florida

1:30 p.m. Albannach

2:30 p.m. Screaming Orphans

3:15 p.m. Police Pipe and Drum of Florida

3:30 p.m. West of Galway

4:30 p.m. Drake Irish Dance

5:00 p.m. Massed Pipe & Drums of The Florida Keys Celtic Festival

5:15 p.m. The Byrne Brothers

6:15 p.m. Albannach

7:00 p.m. Athletic Awards Presentation Ceremony

7:15 p.m. Screaming Orphans

8:00 p.m. Community Candlelight Compline

Athletics Schedule

11:15 a.m. Sheep Dog Demo

12:15 p.m. Parade

1:00 p.m. Florida State Haggis Hurl Championship

2:30 p.m. Sheep Dog Demo

Ladies of the Keys Highland Athletics Competitions (All times subject to change)

Women’s Open (Under 40)

10:00 a.m. Open Stone Put / 10:20 Heavy Weight for Distance / 10:35 Light Weight for Distance / 10:50 Hammer Toss / 1:30 Caber Toss / 3:15 Sheaf Toss / 3:45 Weight Over Bar

Women’s Master (40 and over)

10:00 a.m. Sheaf Toss / 10:45 Weight Over Bar / 1:30 Caber Toss / 2:00 Hammer Toss / 3:15 Open Stone Put / 3:40 Heavy Weight for Distance / 4:10 Light Weight for Distance

Ongoing Throughout The Day

Blue Skye Pipes & Drums in the Iona Tea Garden 10:00, 11:30, 1:15, 3:15, 5:00

Sheep Dog Herding Demonstration by Craigmalloch Farms

Highland Athletic Competition                                                                                          

SUNDAY, JAN. 9 – AT MARATHON COMMUNITY PARK, 11 A.M.-5 P.M.

9:30 a.m. Celtic Contemporary Worship, St. Columba Episcopal Church

11:15 a.m. Blue Skye Pipes and Drums

11:45 a.m. Police Pipe & Drum of Florida

12:15 p.m. West of Galway

1:15 p.m. Drake Irish Dancers

2:00 p.m. The Byrne Brothers

3:00 p.m. Albannach

4:00 p.m. Screaming Orphans

Ongoing throughout the day:

Sheep Dog Herding Demonstration by Craigmalloch Farm

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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.