By Nicholena Moon
Special to the OBSERVER
MAYVILLE Fourteen clans were represented at the seventh annual Celtic Festival and Gathering of the Clans on Saturday.
Bagpipe bands performed throughout the day at the Celtic Festival Saturday in Mayville.
The festival was held at Lakeside Park in Mayville. Tents and tables ran from the grassy knoll all the way down to the water as 27 vendors sold their wares. Throughout the day, nine pipe bands and seven celtic bands graced festivalgoers with their classic tunes.
The Celtic Festival has grown exponentially since its inception in 2006.
"We had that with just three clans," remarked Doug Clark, festival coordinator and business manager for the 96 Highlanders, a Jamestown bagpipe band.
The festival began when Bill McLaughlin and Clark were playing bagpipes with the 96 Highlanders in an Amherst festival.
"We said hey, why can't we do this in Jamestown?" Clark remembered.
Originally undertaken with a budget of $6,000, the festival has grown so much that this year it boasted a budget of $30,000.
"We've really grown since our first festival at JCC," said Clark. "Last year we had 3,000 visitors. We've got to be close to it again this year."
In addition to all the food and music present at the festival, a large area was dedicated to a competition of heavy athletes. Twenty-two athletes competed in four events that ran simultaneously, similar to a track meet.
Alex Smith of Mayville enjoyed the festival's homey cultural atmosphere.
"The whole tradition, it will bring back fond reminisces of my parents," said Alex, who is of Scottish first descent.
Clark hoped that the festival would fill a niche in Jamestown's rich cultural background.
"It adds a lot to the Jamestown heritage," he said. "A lot of people figure Jamestown to be the old Swedes that come in and the Italians, but there were a lot of Scottish and Irish that came in too. The Scottish and the Celtic heritage in Jamestown is growing quite a bit."