Augusta Liddic/The Daily Times Aztec Highland Games and Celtic Music Festival on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012.
Augusta Liddic/The Daily Times Aztec Highland Games and Celtic Music Festival on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012. (Augusta Liddic)
FARMINGTON — The week before St. Patrick's Day, Durango will be holding a three day festival celebrating Celtic music. The festival will include songs from Ireland, Scotland, the Hebrides and Cape Breton along with original blends by local musicians.

The celebration will be kicked off at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8 with the Westwind Pipes and Drums, a group of musicians from all around the Four Corners area. Westwind will be playing at the Henry Strater Theater. Marilyn Leftwich, the manager for the group, said they will be playing upbeat tunes while wearing the traditional garb Êkilts.

Leftwich began playing bagpipes around 10 years ago. She said at first she was hesitant because she thought of bagpipe bands being predominantly men. However, when she was told that women had begun to join, she started learning the bagpipe. She said Westwind is half women and half men, which is now typical of bagpipe bands.

In addition to playing at the opening, Westwind will be performing at 11 a.m. at the Irish Embassy Pub on Saturday.

Maria Blair, a member of Four Corners Celtic, said the festival will include a variety of workshops, including dance workshops.

On Saturday, there will be a ceilidh at Henry Strater Theatre at 7 p.m. Blair said ceilidhs are like house parties with musicians and dancers. Blair said it was traditionally a way to do something while it was dark outside.

Blair said the Ceilidh at the festival will include music by some out-of-town musicians and people will be invited to dance.


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Blair said she originally got into the Celtic dance when taking a class in Oregon on Irish, Scottish country and English dance. After moving to the Four Corners, she joined the Highland Dancers.

Gypsyfire, a Farmington duo, will be performing during the festival. Gypsyfire consists of Charles Stacey, a singer, guitarist and songwriter, and singer CynthiaÊWhiddon Green. The duo has been together for the 18 years.

Mad Haggis, another San Juan County band, will be playing as well. The band gets its name from haggis, a traditional Scottish food. Haggis is traditionally made of sheep heart, liver, and lungs as well as various other ingredients encased in a sheep's stomach.

The Henry Strater Hotel will be offering a discounted rate for people attending the festival.

Festival passes are available online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/331842. Weekend passes are $30. One-day Friday and Sunday passes are $10 each and one-day Saturday passes are $20. Kids ages 12 and younger get in free when accompanied by adults.

For more information visit www.DurangoCelticFestival.com.

Hannah Grover may be reached at hgrover@daily-times.com; 564-4652. Follow her on Twitter @hmgrover.