It’s Celtic Day Sunday in Bristol
Dave McGlynn was born and raised in Bristol Borough. As a kid, he remembers a longtime Irish section of the riverside town, known as “the Kettle.”
“The majority of the Irish who settled here helped build the Delaware Canal, which runs from Bristol to Easton. Most of it was dug by the Irish,” says McGlynn. Their neighborhood was called “the Kettle,” he says, because of all the Irish households where tea kettles were ever on the boil.
Today, Bristol Borough still boasts a vibrant Irish-American population—23.6 percent of the riverside town, according to 2009 Census figures. (The Italians are not far behind, at 22.6 percent.)
So it’s a good bet that Bristol’s 16th Celtic Festival would be a big draw, no matter what. The fact that it also pulls in Irish from throughout the Delaware pretty much guarantees a big turnout.
This year’s festival is on Sunday, from 1 to 8 p.m. in Lions Park, at the foot of friendly Mill Street, along the banks of the Delaware.
If you haven’t been before … go. The venue is among the most lovely of all the region’s Celtic-themes festivals. (Of which there are many.)
This year’s festival features nonstop music and dance, says organizer McGlynn, starting with Belfast Connection at 1, followed by the Celtic Martins family band, and the Fitzpatrick Irish Dancers. The fabulous Barley Boys close out the festivities with a concert from 6 to 8 p.m. Bring your dancing shoes.
There’s plenty of food and drink, of course, and many vendor tables … just in case you’ve worn out your Claddagh ring.
The day will be dedicated to the memory of longtime festival volunteer Bridget King.
“She was from Ireland,” says McGlynn. “She took care of all our merchandise vendors for years, then she came into bad health, and she past away this year. A good old-fashioned Irish woman, she was. You didn’t mess with Bridget. We called her the ‘Iron Lady’ of Celtic Day.”
Members of the Celtic Heritage Foundation have a lot to proud of. To find out why, pack up the car and spend the day along the river.