As idea becomes reality, CelticFest issues call for local businesses and community groups to "get their Celtic on"
Tuesday 10 August 2021
CelticFest, a Southern Downs celebration of all things Celtic, has started its journey from idea to reality.
The event, to be held at the Warwick Showgrounds on Saturday March 26, 2022, and at satellite venues on Friday March 25 and Sunday March 27, 2022, is the joint effort of three community groups: the Warwick Caledonian Society, Inverness Highland Dance Studio, and the Warwick Thistle Pipe Band.
The three groups are combining to create an event of which they hope the whole Southern Downs region can be proud. They have visions of the CelticFest emblem, the Highland cow, turning up everywhere that visitors venture, and of the local community enjoying “getting their Celtic on”.
Warwick Caledonian Society Chieftain, Alexander Manfield, said CelticFest all started with the Society holding a small event in March 2021, with a short lead time of six weeks, to celebrate the Society’s 150th birthday with an afternoon Pipe Band Muster and an evening Gala Dinner. The 2021 event was assisted by the Local Event Funding Program (LEFP). The Local Events Funding Program (LEFP) is a temporary funding program facilitated by Southern Downs Regional Council and is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments as a component of the 2019 Queensland Bushfires Community Recovery Package under Category C of the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.
“Around 2000 people turned up to these events,” Manfield said. “We saw from that fantastic response our Celtic heritage has a lot to offer visitors to this region, and we started to dream bigger.” CelticFest was successful in Round Two of the Local Event Funding and is using the funds to support a three-day event, he added, as local businesses and community groups come forward with their own ideas for Celtic-themed events and gatherings.
Saturday March 26 will focus on a full day and night program at Warwick Showgrounds, for which programming is well underway. Concurrently, the CelticFest HQ is working with local businesses and community groups to develop satellite events around the region for Friday March 25 and Sunday March 27.
CelticFest is also very happy to receive the support of SDRC Mayor Vic Pennisi. “It is so important that we don’t forget our roots, where we have come from and the contribution that our forebears have made to the region,” Pennisi said. “It is great to see a small and dedicated group of individuals prepared to take up the challenge and celebrate our past and our present with a view of highlighting to current and future generations, one of the cultures that are woven into the region’s tapestry.”
“I look forward to enjoying CelticFest,” Pennisi added. “I recognise that these types of festivals are happening all over the world and I am convinced that with the volunteers that have already signed up to help with the event, there will be a world class experience for all who attend.”
Manfield confirmed that the CelticFest team is very excited to also have the Club Warwick RSL come on board as a partner of the event. CEO Michael Jones said he and his team are looking forward to bringing the CelticFest vibe to the Club.
"The Club Warwick RSL is delighted to partner with CelticFest to help the region celebrate its Celtic history," said Jones. "We will be starting our celebrations on St Patrick's Day on Thursday 17 March and plan to continue our Celtic-themed festivities right through to the CelticFest weekend. We'll make sure the Guinness is flowing!"
Manfield said the CelticFest team are keen to hear from community groups and businesses who have ideas for Celtic experiences that could be promoted under the CelticFest banner. “We want to give our visitors an immersive CelticFest experience,” he said. The CelticFest team envisions seeing tourists staying around Warwick, across the Granite Belt and in all the villages in between and hopes to have several Celtic-themed options for them to enjoy.
“We are hoping the Highland Cow, our logo, takes on a life of its own with Highland Cows in many forms, including fluffy toys, posters or the real McCoy, appearing across the region at all the events, in shop windows, and in places you wouldn’t expect!”, Manfield added.
The CelticFest team can be contacted via the CelticFest Facebook Page or the below contacts. It looks forward to hearing from local and regional businesses and community groups interested in helping to bring the dream to reality.
Alexander Manfield, Chieftain, Warwick Caledonian Society: 0401 846 445