BUNNY IN THE CITY: Celtic Heritage Festival

As Savannah gears up for an infusion of all things green, I consider the Celtic Heritage Festival to be the official kickoff festival of St. Patrick's Day. Held on March 11 at Forsyth Park, there could not be a more perfect host site for the third annual celebration of Celtic music, arts, food and sports.

Expecting the parking to be atrocious, I make a call to Collins Quarters queen Leah Gumm to ask if I can park in one of those treasured front row spots next to the band shell. With a prompt response of “Absolutely!” I head inside the restaurant to let Ryan Semco know that my Jeep Gladiator has permission to park.

Tall and gregarious, Ryan gathers his team together for a perfect pic of chefs and servers while I get an update on their new dinner service that kicked off last night.

“With dinner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we will offer live music from La Bodega, Lulu The Giant and The Hootz,” shares the coffee director.

While exiting the chic restaurant, I see my favorite Enmarket dude walking in with two tiny tots. Say hey to Robert Creasman and his nephews Jeffery and Waylon Robbins! Promising to catch up with Robert about next week’s Feed a Trucker with Enmarket and Veteran Carriers, I sprint out the door in search of CHF’s Executive Director Victoria Freeman.

 Giggling when Victoria tells me, “Talk to Decie, I have lost my phone,” I head over to chat with the Celtic Heritage Festival President about what we can expect to see today.

“From glow in the dark miniature golf, Gaelic games demonstrations and a Tug-Of-War tournament to face painting, Legacy Irish Step Dancer presentations and an Irish music lineup so spectacular that you will think you are in Ireland, I promise you will get a true Celtic cultural experience,” shares the fabulous female.

Decie is not lying! When I heard that Colin Farrell and Dave Curley, The McLean Avenue Band, Brigid’s Cross and the Chloe Agnew Band were entertaining, I planned my day to arrive in time to see some of my favorite Irish acts. On stage Colin and Dave are wrapping up so I have a few minutes to talk with Chloe before she performs.

The Dublin, Ireland native shares, “With both parents in the business, I grew up listening to bluegrass, Celtic, country and pop, had my first performance at 6 years old, my first album dropped at 14 and I started touring with Celtic Woman when I was 15.” 

When I ask what singer she would love to meet, the 33-year-old powerhouse naturally chooses Celine Dion. Also, gentlemen, I am sad to inform you that Chloe is taken and has “the love of her life!”

Exiting the stage, I see Savannah Police Department’s Lt. Dana Purvis watching the crowd. A fan of the talented writer, I admit to following her fabulous life on Facebook before asking Lee Reed if he is following me. I just saw the United Distributor rep chilling at the Savannah Shamrock Rugby Tournament and like magic, he is standing in front of me!

After telling him to hug his wife Teresa for me, I glanced over at Victoria talking with Georgia Southern University Associate Director for the Center for Irish Research and Teaching Meaghan Dwyer-Ryan. That’s a lot of words to describe a lady dedicated to helping students immerse themselves in all things Irish.

“We will have 150 students attend the only United States public university to have a brick-and-mortar campus in Ireland,” shares the Boston native with familial ties to Ireland.

Curious about the program, I ask Meaghan to tell me more.

“From geography, public health and nursing, we hope to immerse our students in the culture of Ireland and build life experiences through this Wexford, Ireland and Savannah connection,” adds Meaghan.

With beloved Howard Keeley at the helm of the center, I know that is exactly what will happen.

Posing in a pic with her is Rue Groves, a GSU honor student who will be joining Meaghan on their Wexford trip this summer. When Meaghan tells me that she is following her mom’s, April Trepagnier, footsteps from her visit to Wexford last year, I pause her and say, “Wait! Did you mean April as in the most fascinating female in Richmond Hill? The book-loving, marathon-running, GSU President’s List, veteran, writer and podcast queen?”

I knew this young lady looked familiar but learning that she is the daughter of one of most talented women I know and is a staff writer for George-Anne Inkwell makes it even better! 

Glancing around, I see families on picnic blankets, young people playing cornhole and superstars like CHF board member Carolyn Williams. Manning one of the four Guinness bars, Carolyn is one of the most positive people I have met and when I think of Tybee Island, networking and supporting our community, this gorgeous redhead comes to mind!

While doing a video of Carolyn toasting me, I got a photo request from petite Angela Smith. While posing the preschool speech pathologist with her daughter Caroline, I learn of her Scottish bloodline (by way of North Carolina) and that Caroline was a Legacy Irish Dancer for 9 years and that she is a big fan of WSAV’s The Bridge.

With night falling, I pause to take in sights and sounds, meet mom and daughter Josie and Laura Levy, then slow Victoria down to get a wrap-up.

The CHF executive director shares, “With so many local descendants from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and the Isle of Mann, we could not have a one-day festival without the support from our sponsors. We hope to build stronger relationships with Wexford, the Scottish Games Festival, the Gaelic Athletic Association and Savannah’s Catholic community.”

Super amped by today's festival, I am planning a trip to Scotland to chase castles and check out the Isle of Skye. And I can’t wait until next year to see what Victoria and Decie present to Savannah!

About The Author

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment
  • Cirque Ma'Ceo in Savannah

    @ Tanger Outlets

    Fri., March 31, 7-8:30 p.m., Sat., April 1, 4-5:30 & 7-8:30 p.m. and Sun., April 2, 1-2:30 & 4-5:30 p.m.

  • or

Right Now On

Now Playing

By Film...

By Theater...