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Get your Celt on; Valley festival moves to new site.

Byline: Bonnie Russell

WEBSTER - Eggs, legs and kegs are just a few of the things that can be found at the Blackstone Valley Celtic Festival.

The fifth annual signature festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 28 at the Indian Ranch Performance Center on Route 16 in Webster. The festival moved to its new location this year after previously being held at King Farm in Sutton.

Hosted by the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Indian Ranch Performance Center and presenting sponsor Charter Communications, the Blackstone Valley Celtic Festival will use a permanent stage and the backdrop of the Indian Ranch Performance Center on Webster Lake to create a Celtic world.

"We really wanted to do something special for this festival's fifth year. Using the stage, banquet room and outdoor pavilion at Indian Ranch has made so much sense. It has let us focus on the entertainment, and we're sure folks will be thrilled with the talented musicians and performers we've booked," Joseph Deliso, the chamber's interim executive director, said in a prepared statement.

Beginning with breakfast, the day offers music, dance, children's entertainment, pub-style food and fare, a merchant's village and the opportunity to indulge in all things Celtic until the sun sets.

One of the indulgences is a traditional Irish breakfast, which includes imported Galtee Irish sausages, Irish bacon, black pudding, batchelor beans, homemade Irish bread and eggs. Guests may purchase this for $10 at the Celtic Nations Pub & Pavilion. The pub offers both a Celtic pub atmosphere inside, with food and grog and performers in the traditional manner, plus an outdoor pavilion section seating 1,000.

The festival will be emceed by comedian George Casey, whose 30-year career includes opening and touring with headliners Rosemary Clooney, Ray Price and Bobby Vinton, among others.

Other performers include: Celtic folk legend piper Paddy Keenan appearing with John Walsh and Jimmy Noonan; Seamus Connolly & Friends; the Robbie O'Connell Band; Celtic Spring - the Wood family step dancers and musicians; Charlie Zahm; vocalist Nan Tom Teaimin; O'Shea-Chaplin Academy of Irish Dance; the McInerney School of Irish Step Dancing; the Tulach Ard Pipe Band and the Worcester Kiltie Band.

Interspersed throughout the day will be workshops on a variety of heritage-oriented themes, including presentations by staff and volunteers from Worcester's Higgins Armory Museum.

Back again this year is a Men-in-Kilts contest.

"This colorful contest encourages men to wear kilts to the festival, and those who do will receive half off the price of their admission," said Lisa Mosczynski, Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce media relations consultant

Last year's winner in the category of "most authentic dress" was state Rep. George N. Peterson Jr., R-Grafton. The Web site for the Celtic Festival also hinted that Mr. Peterson won in other categories but added that those interested in finding out more would need to ask Mr. Peterson.

"The one that they are probably referring to is `body of an eagle and legs of a sparrow,'" Mr. Peterson said with a long, loud laugh.

"I plan to wear the kilt again this year," Mr. Peterson said.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. Tickets for seniors 65 and older and youths 16 and younger are $10 in advance and $12 at the gate. Children 8 and younger are admitted free.

For more information and to purchase tickets on line, visit www.indianranch.com or call (508) 943-3871; visit www.blackstonevalleycelticfestival.com, or call (508) 234-9090.

Blackstone Valley Celtic Festival

Indian Ranch Performance Center, Webster

Saturday, July 28

10 a.m.

Gates open

Main Stage

Opening Ceremony

March of the Colors with the Tulach Ard Pipe Band

Presentation of the Colors of the Seven Nations

11:10 a.m.

Nan Tom Teaimin

11:15 a.m.

Tulach Ard Pipe Band

11:45 a.m.

George Casey - Irish comedian and festival host

Noon

Robbie O'Connell Band

1 p.m.

Celtic Spring

2 p.m.

Nan Tom Teaimin

2:15 p.m.

Charlie Zahm

3:15 p.m.

Mary McInerney dance performance

3:40 p.m.

Robbie O'Connell Band

4:30 p.m.

Interlude

5 p.m.

George Casey - Irish comedian and festival host

5:10 p.m.

Nan Tom Teaimin

5:25 p.m.

O'Shea-Chaplin Academy of Irish Dance Performance

6 p.m.

Seamus Connolly with Joe Derrane & John McGann

6:45 p.m.

Paddy Keenan with John Walsh and Jimmy Noonan

7:30 p.m.

Reel to Reel: Paddy Keenan and Seamus Connolly

8 p.m.

Festival Closing Ceremony

Strike of the Colors and March of the Pipes with members of the Worcester Kiltie Pipe Band

ART: PHOTOS

CUTLINE: (1) Men are encouraged to wear kilts to the Celtic festival. State Rep. George N. Peterson, R-Grafton, at far right, won last year for most authentic dress and "body of an eagle and legs of a sparrow.'' (2) Celtic Spring. (3) O'Shea-Chaplin Academy of Irish Dance Performance. (4) Seamus Connolly, Joe Derrane and John McGann. (5) Paddy Keenan (6) From left, Indian Ranch President Suzatte Raun, Blackstone Valley Celtic Festival Manager Anne Beck and Chamber of Commerce Interim Executive Director Joseph Deliso sit in the bleachers overlooking the festival stage.

PHOTOG: (1) PHOTO COURTESY SUSAN SPENCER (6) ALEX WITKOWICZ
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jul 22, 2007
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