5 Can’t-Miss Events at CelticFest Vancouver 2013, March 9-17

Qristina and Quinn Bachand are performing at CelticFest Ceilidh and Mahony & Sons Celtic Village. Photo courtesy of CelticFest.

Qristina and Quinn Bachand are performing at CelticFest Ceilidh and Mahony & Sons Celtic Village. Photo courtesy of CelticFest.

It’s time to wear your green with pride.

CelticFest Vancouver, the annual celebration of Celtic culture, is rolling into town March 9-March 17.  While lots of cities have a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Vancouver offers nine straight days of Celtic food and drink, music and dancing and more.

All told, CelticFest embraces 70 events at venues all across the city, from tastings at Irish pubs, to traditional Ceilidhs with folk music and dancing to all-out street parties.

Here are five can’t-miss happenings for lovers of the Emerald Isle:

Celts on the CreekCelticFest kicks off with this free outdoor party at the Village on False Creek (formerly Olympic Village).  Stop by the plaza for a full day of heel-kickin’  Celtic music – both traditional and rock ‘n’ roll varieties – plus food and family fun.  March 9, noon-5 p.m.; Village Plaza; free. 

Photo courtesy of CelticFest.

Photo courtesy of CelticFest.

A Whisky Kiss Scotch TastingConnoisseurs of single malts flock to this exclusive tasting of five high-end scotch and whisky samples.  Paired with appetizers and narrated by a trained “Scotch Educator,” the event is a perennial favourite at CelticFest.  March 13, 6 p.m.; The Cellar; $30 (advance), $35 (door).

Celtic Music at the VogueThe best of Celtic music from both sides of the Atlantic takes the stage at the retro Vogue Theatre on Granville Street.  First, Gaelic singer Mary Jane Lamond and fiddler Wendy MacIsaac bring the spirit of Cape Breton to Vancouver.  Then, Maeve Mackinnon, Scotland’s twice-nominated Gaelic Singer of the Year, offers some Celtic soul from across the pond.  March 14, 8 p.m.; Vogue Theatre; $30 (advance), $35 (door).   

Celtic VillageGranville Street shows its Celtic Pride at this weekend-long street party.  There’s live music, plenty of street food, a market with vendors selling everything from Celtic swords to shamrocks and lots kid-friendly fun, all in the heart of downtown Vancouver.  March 16, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; March 17, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Granville Street between Robson and Nelson Streets; free.  

St. Patrick’s Day Parade CelticFest culminates in the big St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  Some 2,000 participants – Scottish and Irish dancers, pipe and drum corps, stilt walkers, police and fire squads and more – march down Howe Street.  The vibrant parade attracts crowds in excess of 300,000 people, turning downtown Vancouver into a sea of green.  March 17, 11 a.m.; parade starts at Howe and Georgia Streets; free. 

Any other can’t-miss events at CelticFest Vancouver 2013? Let us know below. 

For more updates on Vancouver and beyond, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza

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