Do you have Gaelic roots—or do you just have a love for Irish and Scottish culture? If you’re in Albuquerque on May 17 and 18, you’ll want to leave your hotel room for the 26th annual Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival. This festival has all the Celtic dances, bagpipes and tests of athleticism you’ll need.
If the sound of bagpipes is music to your ears, be sure to attend the festival’s piping contest. This annual event features pipers, drummers and bands playing sweet songs on the iconic instrument. On Saturday and Sunday, participants will compete in both solo and band competitions.
Scottish and Irish Dance Demos
To add to the joyous atmosphere of the festival, dancers will compete in the Scottish Highland dance competition on Saturday afternoon. Here, dancers from a variety of groups, including Irish Ceili, Irish Set, Irish Step and Scottish Country, will display the particular dancing styles true to their roots.
The Celtic Heavy Athletics Events
The Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival will host the Celtic Heavy Athletics events.
Originating as competitions between clans, these events, which are divided into categories for both men and women, focus on testing the strength of the competitors. This year’s Celtic Festival will offer the caber toss, weight over bar, the stone put, the Scottish hammer throw, the sheaf toss and the weight throw for competitors to test their power.
Looking for even more tests of athletic skill? You can watch the festival’s 16th annual Rio Grande Celtic 7s Rugby Tournament—or even partake in the games yourself.
Still looking for Celtic events to enjoy at the Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival? Watch (and listen to!) the harp competition, enter your shortbread recipe into the Scottish shortbread contest or listen to the tribal Celtic music of the Wicked Tinkers. Of course, remember to grab a delicious microbrew while you’re at the festival. Once the festival is over, you’ll head back to your hotel room exhausted from the days’ events, but it will have been worth it to be part of such a historically rich weekend. Who knows? You may love it so much that you’ll have to make another hotel reservation to attend next year’s event!
Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Date: Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18
Place: Balloon Fiesta Park
5500 Balloon Fiesta Pkwy, Albuquerque, NM 87113