Almonte Celtfest lives! Festival will continue into 2015

by Jane Torrance

celtfest logoA newsletter distributed a week ago indicating the end of Celtfest brought many expressions of support from Cape Breton, to the St Lawrence Seaway, from Ottawa city, Upper New York state, up the valley, and importantly from additional people here in the Almonte business and cultural communities.

A large and enthusiastic crowd gathered at the Almonte Old Town Hall on Monday night, January 12, to voice their concern about the demise of the festival, and step up to volunteer so the popular event could continue. All who have been connected with this event for the past 18 years were recognized and honoured for passionately volunteering tens of thousands of hours to sustaining this event for the past 18 years.

As we enter year 19, we have had a revival of interest, enthusiasm and dedication to the festival, and have identified Jim Morrison as our Festival Chair. Morrison was the Chair of Brockville Celtic Festival for many years, and brings a deep wealth of experience, knowledge and passion to our organization.

Heading the Artistic Committee is David Baril from Almonte, leading a fine team of members. New webmasters Ansley Smith and Brent Eades will keep AlmonteCeltfest.com in fine order, and Stephanie Verk has volunteered to Co-Chair Promotions. Previously identified Chairs Mike McCabe and Nicole Peterson (Financial) and Trish Sawyer (Volunteers) join returning Chairs Gavin Donnelly (Site), and Jane Torrance (Promotions). Many new committee members have volunteered their gifts and talents to make this organizing committee successful, and we thank the new and emerging group who will dedicate their time, energy and commitment to this community, and the love of the music, song, and dance traditions that this event represents.

Incoming Chair Jim Morrison could not be present for the reorganizing meeting, but sent these words:

“Seldom have I seen such a coming together of a Celtic Community to create such an on-going success as the Almonte Celtfest! It will be my privilege and my challenge to work with the new team of leaders to create yet another feast of Celtic cultures for an ever-expanding audience. The folks of the Valley on both sides of the Ottawa River have a great Celtic home here in Almonte! Slainte!”

If you would like to volunteer for the organizing committee, for a particular job leading up to the festival, or during the weekend of Almonte Celtfest, please drop us a line at almonteceltfest@hotmail.com or connect through our facebook page Almonte Celtfest.

We hope to see you at the 19th Almonte Celtfest this summer, July 10, 11 and 12!