celt

The children in Ms. Younge’s grade 2 class at R. Tait McKenzie School in Almonte were surprised by the sudden arrival of a very large leprechaun!

On Friday, November 8, Liam the Leprechaun, dressed formally in a top hat and green morning coat, appeared during a presentation by the Almonte Celtfest Society. As part of the grade 2 study unit on celebrations and traditions, the Almonte Celtfest Committee was asked to visit the class and talk about its annual festival held every July in Almonte’s Gemmill Park.

The students assembled in the library, where they were met by members of the Celtfest Committee and by local fiddler extraordinaire and fiddle/step-dance instructor, Cindy Thompson.  Then, to the delight of the children, Liam appeared, dancing his way into the room. During the presentation, the children learned how the festival began in 1997 to celebrate the heritage and traditions of the Scottish and Irish immigrants who settled here in the Ottawa Valley in the 19th century.

Next, Cindy Thompson entertained the crowd by playing several Irish and Valley tunes on her fiddle.  She then tied in Remembrance Day by performing a piece called “The Jack Thompson Jig,” which she had written for her Uncle Jack, a Second World War veteran.  Backing up Cindy on the fiddle, Liam the Leprechaun played his bodhran, the traditional Irish drum.

Ms. Younge joined in the fun after Cindy taught her some basic step-dance moves on stage. Inviting a few children from the audience to come up and join them, Cindy played a Valley tune, and they all danced their hearts out as the audience clapped and cheered.

After the entertainment, the children had an opportunity to visit with Liam and get a hug for luck!

They’ll have another chance to see Liam at the 18th annual Almonte Celtfest on July 4, 5, and 6, 2014.

For more information about  Almonte Celtfest, visit www.almonteceltfest.com, where you can also sign up for the Celtfest Newsletter, or “like” us on Facebook.