Celtic Festival keeps growing green
The high altitude of Lake Tahoe makes it more difficult to play bagpipes, but that didn’t stop South Lake Tahoe resident Paul McAfee from coaxing from his pipes a thick, rich, sentimental sound that drifted up into the pines and down among a group of appreciative listeners.
McAfee, a 49-year-old mechanic for the city who teaches bagpipe on the side, played on the Great Lawn of Valhalla Estate Sunday afternoon as part of a Celtic Festival organized by Tallac Association and Kiwanis Sunrisers.
A view of the lake, grilled food, keg beer, Celtic music and people sprawled on the lawn helped creates a relaxed atmosphere for the festival which grows each year.
“It’s laid back because the environment is that way,” said Carol Spain, a member of Tallac Association. “We probably have close to 500 people. We had to go out and get another keg, that’s a good sign.”
Besides the talents of McAfee, The Black Irish Band played, a vendor sold Celtic jewelry, Irish dancers kicked up their heels and a harpist performed.
Charles Ferris, a 54-year-old kindergarten teacher from Pollock Pines, with Scotch/Irish heritage, said that he loves visiting Valhalla Estate. “I’ve listened to this type of music all of my life, but it’s the first time I’ve been to this festival,” he said. “You can’t beat this. Every time we come up here we never get tired of it.”
Spain said when the festival started out 15 years ago it was mainly bluegrass music, but they switched to Celtic music and that has proved to be much more popular.
Organizers said by selling food, beer and tickets, $6 for adults and $2.50 for children, they expected to raise $2,000 to benefit youth programs and cultural art programs.
The festivals at Valhalla, like one slated Aug. 20 devoted to reggae, have proven to be increasingly popular.
“Every year the festivals draw more and more people,” said Dennis Crabb, president of Tallac Association and a South Lake Tahoe attorney. “Best example of that is the Renaissance Festival. The first year we had 800 people. This year it was two weekends and drew 30,000.”
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