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ABOUT THE FESTIVAL

In 1966, the City of Saline, Michigan entered into a Sister City relationship with the city of Brecon, Wales.  Far from being a nominal relationship simply entitling the cities to post signs at the edge of town, much spirited interaction has taken place over the years: mayor and council visits, school writing projects, countless newspaper articles. The residents of the City of Saline have always had an interest in culture and arts, and this interest has been well-fed by the relationship with Brecon.

Beginning in 1996, as part of the celebration of thirty years as the Sister City of Brecon, Wales, the City of Saline created the Saline Celtic Festival.  An enormous (and unexpected) amount of interest in repeating the festival in subsequent years caused it to blossom and grow into a significant event in the world of culture and music education, performances and exhibitions, as well as a well-recognized destination for those interested in other cultural aspects such as dance, theater, storytelling, and sporting events. 

Each year a team of local volunteers contribute hundreds of hours over the course of a year planning and implementing the festival (see below). There is no paid administrative staff.

Organized by volunteers in preparation for the agreed separation from the city, Friends of the Festival was incorporated on April 26, 2011 in the State of Michigan and assumed all financial responsibility for the Festival.  In 2013, Friends of the Festival was recognized by the IRS as an organization described in Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).

As agreed, in January of 2023, The Saline Celtic Festival and the City of Saline officially parted ways, the city appointed Executive Committee was dissolved and its members assumed positions on the Friend's Festival Advisory Committee. The Friends of the Festival took over as the official ruling body of the Saline Celtic Festival as a whole.

In 2022 the planning volunteers recognized that without additional space and infrastructure, the festival could not continue. The decision was made to relocate to the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds for the 2023 event.

Following the success of the 2023 festival and recognizing that the Saline Celtic Festival had grown far beyond city limits, the name was officially changed in 2024 to Michigan Celtic.

Festival Weekend

Festival Friday

It all starts at 6:00 pm on Friday offering Celtic music on the main stage and more than a dozen (free to the public) workshops that provide lessons in traditional folk dance, sword play and acrobatics, athletics, traditional musical instruments and historic living.

Saturday

On Saturday the Festival kicks off with over 100 pipers parading through the Festival grounds to the opening ceremony hosted by the mayor of Saline who welcomes an average of 10,000 attendees to enjoy: Celtic music and dance performances and instruction on multiple stages; athletes from all over the country vying for champion status in Highland Athletics; youth dancers travelling from all across North America to compete in the Highland Dance Competition; the Wee Folks area where children 3-12 years old can do various Celtic crafts, hear story tellers, and participate in games such as bean bag haggis toss and archery; exhibitions in sword play, historic encampments; and acrobatics; and to partake in the foods and wares being offered by various artisans.

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