Sponsored by the Utah Scottish Association and held at the American West Heritage Center in Wellsville, Utah (near Logan), the 2nd Annual Celtic Festival & Highland Games was held August 27 and 28, 2010. This is a small festival, significantly smaller than those I previously attended when I lived on the East Coast. However it is a young event and I’m confident that with all the people of Welsh ancestory here in Utah, it will continue to grow.
The site was easy to find and well marked from the highway. The parking attendants were helpful and although we parked in grass the main walkway was graveled, so it wasn’t too dusty. I found that the ticket prices were reasonable, at $7 for adults and $3 for children, and I was able to order and print them ahead of time; my friend purchased his at the gate with a credit card with no fuss. We were all given wristbands so we could leave and return at our leisure.
There were a handful of food venders in a central location, mostly serving hot dogs and hamburgers. There was one booth selling fry bread and another with kettle corn, both considered to be typical generic festival foods. I was surprised that only one booth sold food that was even pretending to be remotely Scottish: they had Corned Beef & Cabbage for about $11 a plate. I had expected more culinary options, but was pleased that the food was at least reasonably priced. My youngest daughter got a hot dog, single-serve bag of chips, and a can of Coke for $5 including tax. There were only a handful of tables to eat at, but plenty of grass in shady areas under mature trees to sit and eat picnic style. There were also plenty of trash cans in the food area, and there was no litter to speak of.
The majority of the booths were Clan booths, set up to showcase their family plaids and crests. These were great fun to look at, and the people representing their Clans were all friendly and eager to share knowledge of their history and roots. There were about six to eight vender booths, all lined up in a row, selling everything from traditional kilts to incense. I had expected more shopping options, and was fairly disappointed at the low turnout. However the booths that were there had polite and knowledgeable attendants and the prices were in line with what I’ve encountered at other Celtic Festivals.
The program for the Festival included speakers and presentations in the Opera House, which was air conditioned and provided a nice break from the summer sun. My children enjoyed a Celtic story time with songs and dance, and there was an informative presentation on how the Welsh had influenced the local Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We went back outside so my youngest, an avid dog lover, could watch the sheep herding demonstration carried out by a border collie and his handler.
We also watched the Highland Games, which were held in a large field behind the Clan booths, and listened to the live music played on a nearby stage. About mid-day, the Scottish Association set off a candy cannon next to both of these venues, much to the delight of the children who ran around collecting the wrapped sugary treats that rained down on the field.
The American West Heritage Center proved to be a great location, as they have established buildings with big Festival perks like indoor plumbing with clean flush toilets. This is a huge bonus over the typical Celtic Festival, which usually boasts only Port-A-Potties and alcohol-based hand sanitizers. They also had a short train ride on the AWHC’s train track and a petting zoo area where children and adults could interact with some small goats.
Overall, this festival was worth the price. If they had charged much more I would have been unhappy with the value, because the festival was small and honestly after three hours we were out of things to see and do. I’ve heard that there is a larger Celtic Festival held annually at Thanksgiving Point, and I realize that this is only the Logan Celtic Festival’s second year in operation. We will probably go to this Celtic Festival again next year, if only to watch it grow.