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Celtic heritage invades downtown Fort Myers

By Staff | Jan 25, 2009

Celtic heritage found its way to the banks of the Caloosahatchee River in Centennial Park in Fort Myers on Saturday.
Co-sponsored by the city of Fort Myers Recreation Department, The 6th annual Caloosahatchee Celtic Festival brought together music, food, and traditional Celtic fashions in the warm January sun.
Chairs and blankets dotted the lawn in front of the stage, as revelers enjoyed libation and tasty treats while listening to a full day of live performances.
Organizer Kelly MacDonald said she decided to put the festival together six years ago because there were no celebrations of Celtic culture in Southwest Florida.
“There’s nothing quite like it in the Tri-County area,” MacDonald said. “We do this for the community. It really appeals to all ages, as people can come out and have a nice day in the park.”
Of course, kilts were the fashion of the day, seen in abundance all over Centennial Park.
Samantha Brower, owner and proprietor of “Got Kilts? Celts with Attitude”, a celtic fashion vendor, said most modern Kilts range in price from $35 – $1,000.
Not only do they range in price, but also function, from high fashion to sport to utilitarian.
Though modern kilts are often constructed of cotton, denim, or corduroy, classic kilts are made wool fashioned into tartans, or patters, which are associated with individual clans or families.
Brower, who lives in Lake County, FL, said the Lee County festival is comparable with other Celtic festivals around the state. She also praised the work of organizer Kelly MacDonald.
“It’s a wonderful festival. The people here are wonderful, and everyone is having a great time,” she said. “They always have a good turnout here. They’ve done a good job.”
Celtic heritage encompasses the Welsh, Scottish, Irish and English bloodlines. Though many people might have come out to eat and enjoy the beer being served – including Harp, Guiness, and Smithwick’s – there was probably more Celtic heritage at the one day festival than most realized, as nearly 2,500 people packed the confines of Centennial Park.
As Kelly MacDonald put it, “Everybody has a little bit of Celt in em’.”