Celtic Festival St. Augustine Florida 2018

St Augustine St Patricks Day ParadeSt. Augustine’s Celtic Music and Heritage Festival celebrates its history as the oldest Celtic settlement in America. St. Augustine’s founder, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, came from Galicia in northwest Spain, one of the original Celtic nations. According to exciting new research, it holds the record for the oldest St. Patrick’s Day celebration, too! Last December, Dr. J. Michael Francis of the University of Southern Florida discovered documentation of a St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the spring of 1600, and a parade in 1601. According to his PBS blog, “In March of 1601, St. Augustine’s residents gathered together and processed through the city’s streets in honor of an Irish saint, who appears to have assumed a privileged place in the Spanish garrison town.”

Visitors to this year’s Festival, March 9-11, 2018, will immerse themselves in many forms of Celtic traditions and culture – the St. Patrick’s Day parade, Highland Games, traditional and modern Celtic music, and more. There’ll be Celtic foods, hand-made crafts, Irish storytelling, and even a pre-festival Whisky Tasting to sample the liquid gold distilled in Celtic lands. The St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival was named Best of St. Augustine Festival/Event and Jacksonville’s Bold City Best Event/Concert for both 2016 and 2017. This year’s celebration is sure to win accolades, too. Visit the Festival’s Facebook page to see a video of the 2017 Festival.

The celebration kicks off Friday evening with a special pre-festival Whiskey Tasting from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. A Jameson Brand Ambassador from Ireland will guide visitors through tasting seven different Irish Whiskies and Scotches, from Jameson’s Caskmates IPA Edition to Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso. (Cost: $45 per adult. Note these tickets are limited and are sold separately from the Festival admission.)

The 417st commemoration of the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the World opens the Festival on Saturday morning. Thousands of spectators will gather along the parade route through the Old City to watch one of the three largest parades in St. Augustine each year. The parade ends at Francis Field, the site of the Festival.

The tradition of Highland Games, challenging participants’ strength and athleticism, dates back to the 11th century Scottish Highlands. The Festival’s 21st century competitions include Scottish stone throws, open stone put, sheaf toss, and of course, the caber toss. Anyone age 21+ is invited to sign up by noon and compete in a special Keg Carry event at 1:00 pm.

The sounds of traditional and modern Celtic Music by bands from Scotland, Ireland, and the U.S. will fill the air throughout the Festival.

  • Performing on both Saturday and Sunday will be Albannach, a Scottish Pipes & Drums band from the Highlands, Dublin City Ramblers, “Ireland’s No.1 Ballad & Folk Group of The Year,” and New York’s Emish.
  • Saturday will feature Enter the Haggis, a Celtic Folk Rock band, House of Hamill, , Seven Nations, “not your father’s Celtic band,” and The Steel City Rovers, bringing together Celtic and North American musical traditions or Celtibilly.
  • Sunday will feature Emmet Cahill, formerly a lead singer with Celtic Thunder, and Rathkeltair, whose ground their rock-and-roll in Celtic roots. Find detailed information about the performers and the schedule in the Festival website.

Whether or not you trace your heritage back to the Emerald Isle, Scotland, or Spain’s Galacia, the St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival is a great place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and immerse yourselves in the sights and sounds of Celtic history and culture. Casa de Solana’s location in the historic old town is less than a mile from the Festival’s location at Francis Field, and is easily accessible by car, transit, or on foot. Just go online or give us a call to reserve your stay.

St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival
Location: Francis Field, 25 W Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Dates & Times:
Saturday, March 10, 2018 from 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
     St. Patrick’s Day Parade begins at 10:00 am
     St. Augustine Highland Games begin at 10:00 am
     Musical performances begin at 12:00 pm
Sunday, March 11 from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
     St. Augustine Highland Games begin at 10:00 am
     Musical performances begin at 12:00 pm
Regular Admission for either Saturday or Sunday: $10 per person, Retired and active duty US Military Personnel with current ID, Free, Children 12 & under, Free (Admission does not include Whiskey Tasting Friday)
VIP Ticket Package: Admission both Saturday and Sunday, separate VIP seating, bar and restrooms, Festival t-shirt, two beers or wines (does not include Whiskey Tasting). $65 per person until February 28, 2018, $75 beginning March 1, 2018, Children 12 & under admitted free with VIP adult
Tickets may be purchased online. Please note that all tickets are non-refundable, and pets are not allowed except for service animals.

Photos courtesy of the St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival