St. Patrick's Day comes early at Westminster's Celtic Canter 5K & Irish Celebration

St. Patrick's Day comes early at Westminster's Celtic Canter 5K & Irish Celebration
Runners begin the 2017 Celtic Canter 5K race through Westminster. This year's event will kick off at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 10. (KEN KOONS/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

They say St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time — a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.

Downtown Westminster hopes to get that magic started a little early at this year’s Celtic Canter 5K & Irish Celebration on Saturday, March 10.


“It’s our first event of the spring,” said Heather Mullendore, assistant director of the Westminster City Department of Recreation and Parks. “People embrace the St. Patrick’s Day spirit. Bagpipes start the race and you can spend the day learning some of the Celtic traditions and tasting Irish-themed fare.”

The event’s proceeds benefit Access Carroll and Target Community & Educational Services.

The Celtic Canter 5K begins at 9 a.m. A 1-mile Leprechaun Chase starts at 10 a.m. Participants can sign up for either in-person at the Westminster Family Fitness Center until Friday, March 9, or on race day on the Westminster branch library lawn.

A vendor village featuring Irish-inspired items and a stone carver will be featured on Main Street from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Celtic modern band Poehemia will hit the Locust Lane stage at 10 a.m. A beer garden will be open there from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In Westminster City Park, the Clan Leatherneck Society and Foundation will demonstrate highland games from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Baltimore Gaelic Athletic Association will be playing Gaelic football and showing off their hurling skills. The Fletchling Archery Team from North Carroll Community School will do team demos at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and have try-it sessions in between.

Children’s crafts and games will also be held in the park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Games will include Flying Haggis, Kiddie Caber, Wee Hammers, Sporran Toss and Braemar Haggis.

Target Community & Educational Services executive assistant Gianna Baccala said the event is “a great excuse to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.”

“It’s a great atmosphere,” she said. “It’s really fun and it’s family friendly.”

Maggie’s Restaurant, Conah's Bar and Grille, Artisan Wine Co., O’Lordans Irish Pub and Restaurant, Rafael’s Restaurant, Johanssons Dining House, Paradiso Ristorante, Ernie’s Place and RockSalt Grille will participate in a pub crawl from noon to 4 p.m. A free trolley will run between the sites from noon to 5 p.m.

Each site will offer a passport stamp. Completed passports can be turned in for a chance to win gift cards. Green attire and costumes are encouraged.

“It’s a really great way to break out of that cabin fever,” said Abby Gruber, director of the Westminster City Department of Recreation and Parks. “Bundle up and enjoy the festivities. You can spend quality time at this event with your family, make some great memories and have a nice day.”

Access Carroll’s Executive Director Tammy Black described the day as a “really positive event.”

“It’s one of those ideal fundraisers because it’s a healthy activity tied to the community that then gives back to the community through nonprofits. It’s also a family event so any age can participate. They can walk, run or be part of the Irish festivities,” she said.

“It’s nice to know that at the end of the day those proceeds will help people most in need. We can direct the funds to the right services for the right people at the right time.”


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