Unless you enjoy enjoy a wide variety of music or food and drink or out-of-the-ordinary athletic events or contributing to a good cause, then the 2018 Mid-Maryland Celtic Festival probably isn’t for you.

Returning to the Mount Airy fire company carnival grounds, 1003 Twin Arch Road in Mount Airy, on Saturday, June 16, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Celtic Festival is fast becoming a popular spring option in Carroll after moving here following a successful run in Frederick.


For the kids there will be activities like a treasure hunt, music, magic, athletics and crafts like making a Father’s Day card. For those over 21, there will be whisky and beer tastings. For everyone there will be music on the Guinness stage and the accoustic stage, numerous pipers piping and lots of clogging and Irish dancing in addition to athletic competitions with names like the Braemar Stone Toss and the Caber Toss

In addition to all the fun to be had, the Mid-Maryland Celtic Festival will be supporting Hero Dogs Inc., a nonprofit that aims to improve quality of life for our nation’s heroes by raising, training, and placing service dogs and other highly skilled canines, free of charge with lifetime support of the partnerships.

“Our festival is for all ages, there is something for everyone,” Kathryn Darling, a native of Scotland and one of the coordinators of this event, told the Times. She has previously talked about how “authentic” this festival feels.

According to the festival’s website, entertainment and athletics will be nearly constant throughout the day and are as big a draw as the food and drink. Read on for more information about music, dance and sport, according to festival organizers.

The 7th annual 5K Celtic Canter on Main Street in Westminster Saturday March 10, 2018.


Rathkeltair blends compelling and catchy original songs with tight, driving straight-ahead rock-n-roll, while never forgetting its Celtic roots. Nick Watson (drums, vocals) and Trevor Tanner (guitar, vocals) are from Belfast and London respectively. The band utilizes a large Potpourri of world class Celtic musicians to deliver a heady mix of bagpipe driven foot stomping tunes.

Kilmaine Saints is the brainchild of two members of a Harrisburg Pipe & Drum band, a side project originally created with the sole intent of getting them free beer at St. Patrick’s Day shows. Since 2009 they have continued to pound through blistering, high-energy live sets that keep people singing along, stomping their feet, lifting their pints and shouting for more.

Formed in 2010, the Baltimore-based Gaelic Mishap Celtic Rock Band includes musicians who span a generation, each bringing a unique musical influence to popular traditional and contemporary Irish music. These guys effortlessly blend the fiddle, guitar, bass, harmonica, bodhran and drums and vocals.

On the accoustic stage, inspired by family ties in the traditional music of the Appalachian region, Emily Martin and The Martin Family Band carry on the tradition of playing, performing and teaching Old Time and Irish on the mandolin, mountain dulcimer and tenor banjo

The Capital Celtic band came together in the D.C. area in pursuit of his dream to make beautiful music as a tribute to Irish heritage.

Craggy Island plays traditional Irish and American Music. The band enjoys exploring the roots of American Music from Irish and Scottish dance music and songs.

On the dance stage, look for performances by Teelin Irish Dance Company, Tir na nOg Irish Dance Troupe, Carroll County Cloggers, Granfling School of Highland Dance, Hurley School of Irish Dance, Frederick Scottish Country Dancers and Chesapeake Caledonian Pipes & Drums.

Meanwhile, there will be pipers aplenty.

The Chesapeake Caledonian Pipes & Drums was formed in 1985 to promote the highest standards in both traditional and contemporary bagpipe and drum ensemble performance. The band wears the Ancient MacDonald tartan coupled with blue police shirts, black tie, and black waist-cropped Naval mess jackets, in honor of the Naval heritage of Annapolis.

MacMillan United Pipe Bands are dedicated to the development and the teaching of all aspects of the music of the bagpipe. The MacMillan-Birtles Pipe Band was founded in 2004 in grade 5 to support new members and to plant the seeds to foster an education system within the organization, MacMillan-Birtles was upgraded in 2009 to Grade 4 and in 2017 to Grade 3.


MacMillan-Birtles also travelled to Glasgow for its first appearance at the 2017 World Pipe Band Championship on Glasgow Green. The MacMillan-Dunn Pipe Band is the current Grade 5 band in the organization.

On Saturday, June 16, you do not need to buy an airplane ticket to experience the culture and traditions of Scotland. You can enjoy them at the 18th annual Mid-Maryland Celtic Festival in Mount Airy.

The Maryland Youth Pipe Band (www.mypipeband.org) is an extracurricular activity open to anyone aged 8 through 18. We are one of only a few organizations in the U.S. that teaches piping and drumming to youth.

The John F. Nicoll Pipe Band is a Baltimore-based, British military style performance band with a long history of dedication to providing the highest quality entertainment for your next function or parade.

The John F. Nicoll Pipe Band was formed in 1977 by Walter T. Wilkie of the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards as an off-shoot of the Scottish Highland Society of Maryland.

The Kiltie Band of York was founded in 1928 and is still based out of York, Pennsylvania with members from the surrounding region including York and Lancaster Counties and beyond.

The Washington Scottish Pipe Band is a premier presentation pipe band in the Washington, D.C./Metro region.


The Braemar Stone Toss is named for the ancient festival held in Braemar, Scotland, that requires that a heavy stone be put from a standing position, creating a test that relies as much on strength as technique. The Braemar stone, weighing between 22 and 28 pounds, is thrown from a stand. The athlete cannot use a run-up approach or spin; instead, both feet must remain stationary until the stone is released.

The “clachneart,” or stone toss, is one of the world’s most ancient tests of strength. The challenge has always been simple: See who can throw a sizeable creek stone the farthest. The Open Stone Toss developed into today’s track and field shot put event. The Open Stone Toss allows a run-up or spinning approach, with the stone usually weighing between 16 and 18 pounds. The contestant must keep at least one foot within the sidelines of the 4’6″ wide and 7’6″ deep throwing box at all times. The trig cannot be crossed at any time during the throw.

The heavy weight toss comes from Scotland, where the traditional measure of weight is a “stone,” which equals 14 pounds. Block weights weighing two stones (28 pounds) and four stones (56 pounds) were used to balance scales for measuring grain. These weights were thrown by locals gathering around the grain store to determine who was the strongest man in the village.

Drawing from the same roots as the Heavy Weight, the two-stone Light Weight is 28 pounds and was originally used to measure out grain. The modern track and field 35-pound weight throw is derived from Highland Games weight tosses.


No matter where you live in Carroll County, you’re a short drive from a farmers market this time of year, giving you the chance to pick up tasty, healthy and locally produced products on a regular basis. 

Throwing the massive rock quarryman’s heavy hammer is a test of strength developed hundreds of years ago. Being even larger than the blacksmith’s hammer, the 22-pound heavy hammer remains an event unique to the Highland Games. The athletes will throw the hammer with their feet remaining stationary, aided by metal spikes that are mounted to the bottoms of their boots and jammed into the ground.

The Caber Toss draws upon the distant past to establish this test of strength and skill as the king of Highland Games Heavy Events. Caber is Gaelic for tree, and lumberjacks are believed to provide the origin by turning small trees end-over-end to cross small rivers. Soon, attacking warriors started landing 20-foot tree trunks against castle walls during siege, using them as crude ladders.

The Caber Toss is the only event that isn’t measured for height or distance. Instead, judges score the event in a subjective manner. A perfect score occurs when an athlete is able to turn the caber end-over-end, with the caber landing in line with the athlete’s direction of momentum, resulting in a 12:00 score on an imaginary clock face.

The sheaf toss originates from one of the most practical and common farm chores: Throwing sheaves of hay up into the barn loft. Traditionally contested at county agricultural fairs, the sheaf toss has made its way into the Highland Games over the last 100 years, becoming a fan favorite along the way. Using a traditional 3-tyne hay fork, the athlete attempts to throw a burlap bag stuffed with materials such as straw or bailing twine over a horizontal bar.

The standing Weight Over Bar, or weight for height as it is often called, is a tried-and-true test of brute strength and explosiveness. Originating from similar traditions as the weights tossed for distance, this is a staple event that is also often contested in strongman contests. The rules are minimal, simply stand under a horizontal bar and throw a 56-pound weight over it with one hand. A running or spinning approach is allowed at the discretion of the field judge.