Five reasons to check out CelticFest Vancouver / by Ivy Haisell

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The Vancouver Sun has five reasons why you should don the green and come out this year for CelticFest.

1. Kiss the Blarney Stone. Congratulations, CelticFest, it’s your 10th anniversary! And for its 10th edition, Western Canada’s largest Celtic celebration adds a few new twists to the formula, including Celtic Circles (special locations with attractions like the Society for Creative Anachronism), fencing demonstrations and street entertainers like The Unipiper (not to be confused with the Unapiper, a loner who builds explosive bagpipes in the woods). And you can even enter to win a trip to Ireland.

2. Shane’s Teeth (March 15). OK, so Vancouver’s favourite local Pogues tribute band won’t be part of this year’s CelticFest (though they will be playing their annual WISE Hall gig Nov. 16). However there’s plenty more Irish music to be seen and heard, with acts coming as far away as, well Ireland (Hermitage Green) to play the festival. Also check out Newfoundland’s The Once, Toronto banjo virtuoso Jayme Stone and his Lomax Project, and local act The Paperboys.

3. St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Bigger and better this year, with more fun for the entire family including facepainting for the kiddies.

4. Something Sort of Grandish. This show (March 15 at Tom Lee Music Hall) celebrates Celtic themes on Broadway and features music and stories from productions such as Brigadoon, Finian’s Rainbow and the current hit Once. As far as we know, the show won’t include anything from Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, featuring songs from Bono and The Edge (of Irish band U2).

5. A wee dram. A scotch-tasting at The Cellar (March 12) features high-end whiskies as well as scotch talk from Simone Kelly, brand ambassador for Jameson, and Keith Trusler, brand ambassador for Glenlivet. Now, here’s an event that could benefit from an on-site face painter.

Tickets and info: celticfestvancouver.com