23rd Niagara Celtic Heritage Festival & Highland Games

September 14 & 15, 2024 | Saturday 10am-10:30pm; Sunday 10am-7:00pm

 

Events

Highland Games

Cheer on your favorite athlete as they compete in the centuries' old strongman competitions known as Highland Games. A highlight of Niagara Celtic, our diverse games include Pro, Am, and Open. We host one of the largest multiple division games in the world! Over 60 athletes from across the U.S. and Canada compete in 11 different divisions over 2 days.

highland games
2024 Competitions

Braemar Stone Throw for distance

Caber Pole Toss

65 lb. Emil Stone

Sheaf Toss

Stone Throw:
56 lb. for height
28 lb. for distance
56 lb. for distance

caber pole toss

2024 Divisions

Saturday

Women's Amateur

40+ Women's Amateur

50+ Women's Amateur

60+ Women's Amateur

40+ Men's Amateur

50+ Men's Amateur

Sunday

Men's Amateur Group 1

Men's Amateur Group 2

Men's Pro

60+ Men's Pro

60+ Men's Amateur

2024 Special Awards:

Athlete of the Day

2nd & 3rd Place All Divisions

Athlete Meet & Greet

Feel free to stop and meet the athletes anytime of the day. We'd be happy to answer questions and/or take photographs. Just make sure we're not growling, snorting or have a heavy stone in our hands!

What are Highland Games?

Ancient Scottish clans defended their territories from one another through their best warriors. Highland chiefs chose warriors based on physically demanding contests held during clan gatherings. Many believe these contests are the basis of modern Highland Games. They evolved over the centuries and now consist of stone, hammer and weight throws, and caber & sheaf tosses.

 

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After Hours Ceilidh

A Saturday visit to Niagara Celtic is not complete without attending our After Hours Ceilidh (kay-lee). As sunset nears, a majority of activity wind down so that festival participants, athletes and volunteers can join in the fun!

Our large party includes concerts and events at the Fireside Stage, relaxing by the fires, and drinks from the Fireside Pub. Some food vendors and artisans remain open so you can shop under the moonlight. Be sure to join us for this wonderful tradition.

Opener

opener
SYR

Taking inspiration from Celtic history, stories and myth, SYR creates powerful songs with themes of battle, love and victory, celebrating the rich heritage of the Celtic Nations in a ontemporary style with broad audience appeal. 

Headliner

headliner
Bastard Bearded Irishman

Bastard concerts are a non-stop barrage of party anthems, dancing tunes and the occasional whiskey-fueled ballad. They’re hard-partying and always in good spirit, and always delight concert-goers!

haggis eating competition
Coming Soon New!

Check back later this summer for an announcement of a new After Hours Ceilidh addition!

haggis eating competition
Haggis Eating Competition

Sponsored by The Scottish Cottage. Do you have what it takes to eat your way to the top prize? Enter our annual Haggis Eating Competition, which is great fun for participants and spectators! Limited entries; register at the sponsor's tent early Saturday.

Midnight Inferno Productions
Midnight Inferno Productions New!

Late Saturday you can experience the magic crafted by the Fire & Light Artists of Midnight Inferno! Their showcases are an exclusive part of our After Hours Ceilidh.

 
 

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Special Events

Not everything during the festival occurs all weekend. Some productions happen for a short time, while others are constantly on the move. Take a look at the special events you can join in on this year.

axe throwing
Axe Throwing  New!

Sunday Only

We're welcoming Hatchets and Hops for the first time! They are the premier recreational sporting venue unique in WNY. Visit their booth in The Great Hall and try your hand at axe throwing.   

bard of basswood
Bard of Basswood

At various times during the festival you'll find the Bard telling wonderful tales under The Storyteller's Tree. You may also get to meet him whenever our favorite tree wanders the grounds!

be witched buffalo
Be Witched Buffalo New!

Be Witched Buffalo is a tribe of wild, witchy women- shaking our brooms for charity! We conjure up whimsical, wicked and enchanting folk dancing that highlights old European styles.

Buffalo Aerial Dance
Buffalo Aerial Dance New!

Saturday Only

Buffalo Aerial Dance offers an array of classes year-round in a variety of specialties. Their performances showcase the best in silks, ropes and more. Make sure to plan your Niagara Celtic visit to include their exclusive showcases at our Special Events Field.

calling of the clans
Calling of the Clans Ceremony

Saturday Only

Saturday at sun-high in Fiddler's Green, join us for a special ceremony to honor all the clans in attendance for the weekend. Historically, Calling of the Clans was a gathering of clans in preparation for battle, unifying the clans as one. Today, it signifies connections we share within our families, heritage and community.

 

ceremonial fires
Ceremonial Fires

A magical part of Niagara Celtic from the beginning, guests and participants gather around the Fire Keepers' weekend-long fires. They host various ceremonies, including Calling of the Clans, Beltane rituals, the Wishing Tree Send-Off, and After Hours Ceilidh. Each fire begins with the ashes of the year before, making our 'eternal' flames the perfect gathering place for all to share and celebrate Celtic heritage.

 

cornhole tournament
Cornhole Tournament New!

Saturday Only

Lock City Cornhole will be hosting a tournament inside The Great Hall. Stop by and cheer on the competitors!

grand finale concert
Grand Finale Concert w/ Glengarry Bhoys

Sunday Only

The Fireside Stage is the final gathering place as Niagara Celtic winds down after an amazing weekend. The Grand Finale Concert features a fan-favorite band. Make sure to stay until the end and take part in a favorite finale tradition, The Parting Glass Farewell (see below).

 

memorial service
Memorial Service

Sunday Only

Each year we honor volunteers and festival supporters who have passed away in the last year. The service takes place at The Motte & Bailey Arena and includes dedications, remembrances and gifts to their loved ones. Participating in the service include clans and Newfane American Legion Post 873.

 

music at the fires
Music at the Fires

Saturday Only

As the sun begins to set, head to Fiddler's Green for a one-of-a-kind experience. Pipers and musicians unite, surrounding our ceremonial fires as they kick-off the Ceilidh Celebration with wonderful performances and sing-a-longs. Don't miss being a part of this very special event!

 

the parting glass farewell
The Parting Glass Farewell

Sunday Only

This 17th century song is sung as the final hospitality offered to departing guests. Following the Grand Finale Concert we all gather to say thanks and farewell to Niagara Celtic...until next year! The performance is led by a different guest or group each year, so you never know who will surprise you with their own rendition.

 

sun-high parades
Sun-High Parades

Participants can include clans, groups, living historians and Massed Band performances. Special ceremonies may follow. They are held at noon each day in Madoc Yard.

 

wishing tree send-off
Wishing Tree Send-Off

Sunday Only

The Wishing Tree is where wishes are gathered from guests and participants all weekend. In order for the wishes to properly heard, it's a tradition to burn the wishes so the words are sent to the skies and received by the spirits or wee folk. Fire Keepers and Niagara Celtic staff  officially send off the wishes later on Sunday, in hopes many will be answered!

 

 

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