Thursday, March 28, 2013

2013 St. Augustine Celtic Music and Heritage Festival

For my birthday (it was in February) Momma took my sister and me to the Celtic Music and Heritage Festival in St. Augustine.  We drove up on Friday afternoon, and checked into our hotel right near historic downtown.  The location was great, because everything was within easy walking distance.
Friday evening was a little hectic.  I'd made arrangements to meet up with some old friends for dinner, and Mom had made arrangements to meet up with my aunts for dinner, but it all worked out.  We first met Corinnea and Jess and their family at the Tini Martini just across from the Bridge of Lions.  We sat and visited there for a little while, then all of us together went to meet Aunt Tine and her family at Borillo's (when we first drove by it, Momma thought that is said "Bordello's") for dinner.  It was wonderful. Not because the food was all that great (it was good, but nothing to write home about), but because of the company.

  I got to sit and chat with Corinnea (my Germany mom) and Jess (her actual daughter) all through dinner.  This was the first time I'd seen Corinnea since she left Germany (a few months before we did), and only the second time that I'd seen Jess in person.  It was just so nice to be able to catch up!  I did feel a little guilty for ignoring my family (Alanna was the only one at the table with us) but Christine, Cathleen and Andrew went with us back to the hotel to sit and visit for a little while, so I feel like I kind of made up for it.

The next morning, we headed over to the fair grounds in time for the official kick-off parade.  I didn't really know what to expect from this parade.  Most of it made sense, because it was all about St. Patrick's Day, Celtic culture, local history, local attractions, or some combination of the three.

The best part about the horses?  The pot o'gold that came behind them.

The local marching band made me feel a bit nostalgic, both for the dance team and the drum line.  (Those were always the 2 best parts, anyway.)

And this one was just plain hilarious, even if the muskets were absurdly loud.

Even the pirates with their giant balloon squid seemed appropriate.

But this took me completely by surprise:

Darth Vader.  Storm Troopers.  Imperial gunners.  Sand people.  Jawas.  A Celtic Leia Organa.  Wait, what?  It was the 501st and apparently, they do a lot of appearances at events ranging from movie premieres to local Celtic parades.  It was totally unexpected--and totally awesome.  Vader was even pretending to force-choke people as he walked by, but no one played along and pretended to be choked.   Too bad he didn't try to force-choke me.
There was a lot more to the parade, but there's only room for so much silliness in a single post.  If you really want to see more, and you happen to be friends with me on facebook, you can browse through the pictures I posted there.
After the parade, the actual festival grounds opened up.  The first thing we did was to make the rounds of all of the vendors.  I'd hoped to find a pair of malachite earrings to go with my necklace:

 but no dice.  (I later found some simple malachite studs on Etsy; I think I'll just order those.)  We did find lots of other neat stuff, including dresses for me and the girls, a t-shirt for Brandon, and some yummy mango Italian ice.

Some of the stuff we saw in the main row of vendors was hand-made, but most of it was not.  There was, however, an area set aside for the artisans.  One of these artisans not only offered fused glass plates and baubles, but had a station set up where people could make their own fused glass pendants!

I didn't take any other pictures of all of the lovely hand made treasures.  I think I had gotten tired of the camera for a little while.  Now I wish that I had.  There were lovely hand-carved wooden boxes and hand-thrown and -painted urns and vases and blown glass and I don't even remember what else.  That's what I get for being lazy.

Over the course of the day, there were a number of different bands on the stage, but this is the only one we paid any attention to.Their music was all pipes and drums, and they were obviously having a lot of fun making it.  The guy with the big drum on the far left was especially into it, and anytime he wasn't playing, he was rousing the audience.  The Storm Troopers didn't hurt.  :)

We skipped the haggis and pasties in favor of  fish & chips (me), coconut shrimp (Alanna), and fried chicken (mom).  I think all three of regretted our choices, but what can you do?  It's fair food.  I think it's probably universally mediocre.  Then again, what was I thinking, getting fish at a fair?  Not my best decision making ever.

Christine and Cathleen met us there right after lunch, and shortly before we were ready to leave the festival and mosey on over to St. George Street.  We ended up walking back up toward the hotel first, to drop stuff off at the car and to check out a few shops that we'd seen the night before.  Alanna was particularly interested in a nautical shop, so we stopped there first.

It had a little bit of everything.  Outdated equipment, spyglasses, driftwood, buoys, art, model ships, historical curiosities, you name it.  Alanna loved it.  We also visited a bead shop, where I found a few things that I just had to have, and what we'd thought was a second hand shop, but turned out to be an over-priced boutique.  Then we headed to St George St to browse through the shops and such there.

I'd say the only notable stops were the Irish store, which was notable only in its absence; and a novel little fudge shop called Fudge Buckets who sold all of their fudge in individual little containers with snap-on lids.  By the time we were done, we were all exhausted.  We headed back to the cars, purchases in tow, and took ourselves off to Outback for dinner with Christine and Cathleen before heading back down to Titusville.

It was a great birthday present, Momma...thank you!

1 comment:

  1. What a fun girls' weekend! I took a Celtic Culture course in college. I had no idea the Celts had such a rich, vast history.

    Glad you had fun :)