Michiana Celtic Festival & Highland Games

By Jane



Fall is special in South Bend for many reasons beyond the beautiful leaves and the pumpkin spice lattes, and many of those reasons are unique to this area. I’m going to post about two this week: The Michiana Celtic Festival and tailgating at the Notre Dame games.


Celtic Band, An Dro serves up world music you can dance to.

This festival is a favorite among South Bend families. Kids love to visit the Scottish Clan family heritage tents to learn how to wear a kilt and wield a sword. Blacksmith and weapons demonstrations take place throughout the day, so watch out for flying axes!


An arms demonstration—learning how to throw a bearded axe.

There are weaving demonstrations, and lots of vendors selling beautiful Celtic-inspired jewelry and pottery, along with shirts, flasks and maybe a furry sporran for your kilt-wearing friends.


Nancy Brenner Sinnott, fine arts weaver. Her business, called A Wee Bit Warped, was one of the most popular vendors/demonstrations this year.

After grabbing a pint of Guinness and a pasty from the food tent, head to the entertainment tent to watch the dancers, and to hear regional bands play traditional and rock-inspired Irish tunes. Some favorites this year included Kennedy’s Kitchen from South Bend and Stone Clover from Detroit.


Kennedy’s Kitchen, South Bend’s very own traditional Celtic musicians.


Stone Clover, a Celtic Rock band, from Detroit, Michigan. They got the crowd on their feet with energetic spirit!

And, if all this wasn’t enough, don’t forget about the athletes throwing tree trunks. The tree trunks are really called “cabers”, and the Scottish Heavy Athletics are serious business. This crew of athletes also threw stones for height and distance, did a hammer throw, and ended the event with a 56-pound weight for height throw.

liftincaber  throwincaber

Watching the athletes heckle each other while they compete and listening to the music with your friends as the sun sets on the river makes the Michiana Celtic Festival the perfect end to summer in South Bend, and a perfect welcome to fall.

foodtent  athletes

Come back this weekend to read about tailgating fun!


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