Entertainment

Fest celebrates Scottish and Irish heritage with food and fun

The New Orleans Strathespy and Reel Society
The New Orleans Strathespy and Reel Society Highlands & Islands Celtic Heritage and Music Festival

Jousting, bagpipes, meat pies and kilts can all be found Saturday and Sunday at the Highlands & Islands Celtic Heritage and Music Festival at Beauvoir in Biloxi.

Ray Doss, president of the Highlands & Islands Association, said the two-day event is a family-friendly mix of activities that focus on Scottish and Irish heritages.

“It’s going to be a fun, family-oriented event that’s very historical and heritage-driven,” Doss said. “It promotes the personal history of our families that will be coming, and they can learn about their heritage.”

Some of the outstanding and popular events include jousting, in which two men on horseback compete in an unscripted, full-contact bout that ends with one rider lying on his back. Bouts are at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. both days. There also is a demonstration with sheep being herded by Border Collies at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. both days.

Specifically for children, there is a story time in which children can hear the tale of a Scottish princess and also try their hand at target practice with toy bow-and-arrows. Also, four vendors will offer traditional foods such as meat pies, Scottish eggs and short breads. Vendors also will offer CDs, kilts and Scottish and Irish wares.

Highland and Island games give participants a chance to play something, throw something and hit something.

A lineup of live music fills both days of the event. It begins at 9 a.m. Saturday with festival favorite Red McWilliams, who also will close out the day at 4:15 p.m. Also on the lineup are Celtic Crossroads (10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.), The New Orleans Strathspey and Reel Society (11), the Massed Bann and clan presentation (noon), Blarney Coast (12:30), Emerald Accent (2:30), Presbyterian Christian School Pipe Band (3:15), the Maccrossan School of Irish Dance (3:30).

The music continues beyond regular festival hours Saturday with the free, ceilidh after party. Doss said the event is like an open-mic night for Scottish musicians.

“They start playing and anyone who thinks they can sing can get on stage. It’s a way to enjoy the show in an informal environment,” he said.

Sunday’s music lineup again starts with McWilliams, who will perform at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Blarney Coast will follow at 11 a.m. At noon, there will be a Kirken of the Tartans and Veteran’s Parade. At 1 p.m., the Maccrossan School of Irish Dance will present a dancing workshop. Lisa Ronis will perform a solo on the bagpipes at 1:45, and the New Orleans Celtic Harp Ensemble will perform at 2.

Hours are Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Admission per day is $12.50 for adults, $7.50 for ages 6-18, and free to ages 5 and younger. Discounts will be offered for two-day passes. Tickets are available online at www.mshighlandsandislands.org/.

Highlands & Islands Celtic Heritage and Music Festival

Where: Beauvoir, 2244 Beach Blvd., Biloxi.

When: Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Admission: Per day is $12.50 for adults, $7.50 for ages 6-18, and free to ages 5 and younger. Discounts will be offered for two-day passes. Tickets are available online at www.mshighlandsandislands.org/.

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