Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Celtic Heritage, Culture and Fun in Saline

The Saline Celtic Festival may have marked its 12th year today, but it was my first time attending and I must say I was impressed. What a wonderful event for the community and visitors alike. From the opening ceremonies and welcome delivered by Saline Mayor Gretchen Driskell to the athletic events, music, demonstrations and vendors, there was plenty to take in and experience. I shot lots of video (13 to be exact) and photos for our Web site. We also had freelance photographer Hiroshi Onuma there, and staff writers Jerry Hinnen and Sue Collins. I am excited to see the images Hiroshi captures. He's a very talented photographer. The photos we purchase from him, as well as our own, will be offered for sale on our Web site beginning Friday.

The festival, the brainchild of former Saline Mayor Patrick Little, is something other cities should try to emulate. It's so well organized and attracts visitors from across Southeast Michigan. Elise Cloutier, 7, of Canton was there with her family and had a blast on the jousting machine. Joe Munski of Grand Rapids and Shaylynn Miller of Ann Arbor were also on hand, but not as visitors. As members of the Ann Arbor Sword Club they were there demonstrating for the crowds. Videos of Elise and the sword fight are posted on our Web site.

On the local front, Karen Young of Saline was on hand with the Birds of Prey. She had a number of birds, from hawks to owls, for visitors to observe. At one point during my video of her, Karen sprays down the birds with a water bottle to keep them cool, although it was pretty nice weather in the early afternoon at 77 degrees punctuated by a nice breeze. Karen was accompanied by a few volunteers and apprentice falconer Jenny Schroeder, who was holding a red-tail hawk while I was there.

Joseph Steele
was a plethora of information as he performed as Steward MacBreachan. He talked about the many poles and spears laid out in front of him used in battle and hunting boar, among other things.

Also captivating was the Society of Creative Anachronism's demonstration of heavy combat fighting during the Middle Ages. The California-based, not-for-profit group's Ann Arbor chapter had many members there dressed in clothing of the Middle Ages and Renaissance period. They also had singers who entertained curious onlookers.

The Fiddlers ReStrung, a high school group based in Saline, also had its turn in the limelight. When I checked on them, they had a huge crowd gathered in a tent listening to Tommy Hunt and Kari Frank singing out in front.

I am so glad I took time out of my day to check out the festival. If you weren't able to make it this year, mark your calendar for next year. It's really something the entire community should support to ensure its longevity and success.

Oh, I almost forgot Millie, the Mill Pond Monster. She was there, too.

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