Sunday, July 28, 2013

448 Hotdogs Later ...

Now that the dust has settled and Graeme Park is slowly finding its way back to normal, I thought it would be fun to tally up some facts on our 17th annual Celtic Heritage Festival and even to work up some graphics to illustrate the weekend. This year's event was the first time we've gone to two days, and as is typical for July, it was right in the middle of a heat wave, not only the days of the event, but also the week our volunteers were out prepping the property, running errands and doing all the other things that need to be done to make this festival a reality. As a hater of cold and snow, I try really hard not to complain about the heat, but 95+ degree temperatures and 50% and higher humidity is HOT!

Three trips to Costco for hot dogs, buns, condiments, cases of soda and cases of water netted us a grand total of 448 hot dogs sold and/or consumed by our volunteers. I didn't count up the sodas and waters, but we went through quite a few of those too in the heat of July.

There were other food vendors on hand selling sausage and pepper sandwiches, chicken fingers, french fries, sweet potato fries, fresh fruit, funnel cakes, fried Oreos, ice cream, pretzels and water ice. Unfortunately our Celtic food vendor called out sick at the last minute, so we did not have the much anticipated Bridies and meat pies this year.

Who would have guessed it, but our beer sales outpaced the hot dogs, and we sold 568 of three different varieties from the back of the beer wagon provided by Hatboro Beverage. The beer truck was also stocked with old fashioned birch beer, of which we sold 93.

Of course one of the main draws of the festival is the music, and we had 52 musicians on board this year - from solo acts like Carl Peterson and Seamus Kennedy to the Celtic Martins with 9 members (6 kids, mom, dad, and son-and-law -- we won't count the grand baby until he's old enough to hold his first instrument). The weekend also featured three bagpipe bands ranging from 3 member Bucks Caledonia to 18 member Irish Thunder, and MacGregor in between; the Glengarry Bhoys; Melinda Crawford on Scottish fiddle with her accompanist on keyboards; and Blackwater a 5 member traditional band.

Too numerous to count, we had dancers from the Timoney School in Glenside, Highland athletes, many of whom traveled from other states to compete in events such as the caber toss and weight for distance, and kids from the Glenside Gaelic Sports Club demonstrating the traditional Irish sports of hurling/camogie and Gaelic football.

Border collies, sheep, ducks, shepherds and shepherdesses traveled here from Raspberry Ridge Sheep Farm in Bangor to bring us herding demonstrations. After Dean and Mark John the Border collies herded the sheep and the ducks, the kids got in on the action and attempted to herd the sheep too. Any guesses as to who had an easier time getting the sheep to go where they wanted? Let's just say I don't think the dogs need to worry about their job security.

After much last minute shuffling, additions and subtractions, we ended up with (I think) 33 Vendors, Sponsors, Clans, and Associations on hand selling Celtic and craft goodies, educating people about Celtic heritage and promoting their businesses.

We also had over 40 volunteers (some of whom were with us through several nights of set up, two long hot days of the festival, and a day of clean up), nearly 1,500 visitors, and currently we're dealing with more bags of trash then we know what to do with. For photographs of the event, check out our Facebook album.

What Is It? Where Is It? (Jun-ly)

Yes, that's right - Jun-ly (pronounced june-lie). It's a new month I made up to cover both the June and July "What Is It? Where Is It?" since the lead up to our 17th annual Celtic Festival (and the first time we made it a Celtic Weekend) just got too crazy and June and most of July got away from me. So here we are, almost at the end of July and hopefully back on track and getting caught up.

If you've been to Graeme Park, the "where" part of the question should be pretty easy to answer this time around, as it is a pretty distinctive feature, but do you know "what" it is? Or what we've been told it is anyway?

Post your guesses here in the comments or on the Facebook link and we'll be back next week with the answer. Also in the name of getting caught up, stay tuned for a Celtic wrap-up and our June and July weddings.
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