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Wheeling Celtic Festival going virtual this year

EVENT GOES VIRTUAL — The Wheeling Celtic Festival, a popular annual event, will be virtual and live-streamed on Saturday. -- Contributed

WHEELING — Area residents won’t have to miss their traditional fix of Celtic food, music and tradition this year due to the pandemic.

The 25th-Annual Wheeling Celtic Festival — organized by Wheeling Heritage — is going virtual this year.

The celebration will take place virtually from noon to 5:30 pm. on Saturday, and presentations will be streamed from Wheeling Heritage’s Facebook page.

There will be no cost to watch any of the online offerings, which will center on Celtic entertainment, food and history.

Those wanting to learn more about the event can visit the website wheelingheritage.org/celtic-celebration. A “Celtic Market Place” featuring items from vendors selling Celtic goods also has been added to the Wheeling Heritage Link.

“We just wanted to make sure we were being safe and responsible with this event, especially since there are restrictions on how many people can gather in space,” said Alexandra Panas, communications and development manager for Wheeling Heritage. “The Celtic Fest is always a well-attended event, so we decided to err on the side of caution and be virtual this year.

“It certainly is not ideal, but we certainly think this is the best option. Just like when we did the virtual Show of Hands, there is an opportunity here to reach even more people.”

The presentations don’t have to be viewed at the time they are lives-streamed, but will be recorded and can be watched later on the Wheeling Heritage Facebook page.

“While we would love to celebrate the 25th Wheeling Celtic Celebration in person, this year’s virtual event gives people from Wheeling and beyond the chance to engage with our programming in new ways,” said Chris Villamagna, program manager at Wheeling Heritage. “It’s going to be a fun, engaging event celebrating Wheeling’s Celtic heritage and traditions.”

The schedule of live-stream events includes:

• Noon: Music performance by the Celtic Lads, Ben and Art, who teamed up more than 12 years ago to play classic Irish-American pub music on St. Patrick’s Day. The duo has performed every year since to share their love of Irish music with the community.

• 1 p.m.: Cooking demonstration with the Vagabond Chef — Chef Matt Welsch will lead a cooking demonstration for Paddy’s Irish Stew. An ingredient list for the dish will be made available later this week for anyone who wishes to cook along at home with Welsch on Saturday. Following his demonstration, a recipe card will be made available online and his demonstration will still be available for viewing, according to Panas.

• 2 p.m.: Music performance by Gallowglass — Wheeling’s premier Celtic band will perform instrumental and vocal music from the Celtic nations.

• 3 p.m.: Children’s storytime — The kids can tune in to listen to a Celtic tale read by Lee Ann Cleary, children’s specialist at Ohio County Public Library.

• 4 p.m.: Irish traditions discussion — Sean Duffy of the Ohio County Public Library will lead a discussion about Irish customs and traditions.

• 5 p.m.: Music performance by the MacDonald Pipe Band of Pittsburgh — Pittsburgh’s oldest continually operating bagpipe band will close out the event with their traditional Scottish pipe band music.

“It’s a bummer it (the Celtic Festival) is not the same this year, but we are hoping people still will be able to feel a connection with one another through this event,” Panas said.

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