Bristol Hosts Its 15th Celtic Festival

Irish tunes at the gazebo

Irish tunes at the gazebo

The wonderfully diverse Bristol is a small borough in Lower Bucks County—population 9,726—but it has a big Celtic heart.

You can see it on display Sunday from 1 to 8 p.m. as the borough’s Celtic Heritage Foundation takes over Lions Park at the foot of friendly Mill Street (at Samuel Cliff Drive).

Dave McGlynn, for one, is looking forward to the day. “Each ethnic group in the borough has a festival in the summer time,” says McGlynn, vice president of the 300-member group. “The Puerto Rican Day Festival is in July, the Afro-American Festival is in August, and the Bristol Lions Italian Festival is in September. We’re the first one, in June.

“Fifteen years ago, when we started, we held it in July. The we found out it was a little warm for the Celts. So we switched it to the end of June. Turns out that’s not always too cool, either.”

This Sunday should be pretty nice, though. The weatherman predicts partly sunny skies, with the high a relatively comfy 84.

Expect the day to be jam-packed with Irish tunes. The music begins at 1 p.m., with the band No Irish Need Apply. The Martin Family Band follows at 3, and the Bogside Rogues at 6, running to the festival’s end.

You’ll see plenty of the area’s toe-tapping dancers, too, with the McCoy School appearing at 2:15, and the Fitzpatrick School at 5.

All of that action happens at the gazebo behind the Bristol Riverside Theatre. Bring a lawn chair.

Between tunes and steps, you can check out the many food and merchandise vendors in the park nearby.

If the experience of past years is any indicator, you can expect to run shoulders with a lot of local Irish.

“We get anywhere from 4,000 to 5000 people,” says McGlynn. “We get good crowds.”

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