Celtic Fest Chicago Free

When: May 8-9 2010

The outdoor festival season gets under way in earnest this Saturday and Sunday with the 14th annual Celtic Fest Chicago in Millennium Park. Presented by the Mayor's Office of Special Events and flynovascotia.com, the free festival runs from 11 AM to 9 PM both days and features rock, folk, and Celtic music from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, Galicia, Cornwall, Wales, the Isle of Man, Canada, and the United States, spread across three stages (well, two stages and a tent). The Pritzker Pavilion hosts each evening's headliners: the Saw Doctors and the Rogues (Saturday) and La Bottine Souriante, the Elders, and Bodega (Sunday). There's also a stage showcasing performances of traditional Irish, Gaelic, and Scottish dance; lessons are available from 7 to 9 PM Saturday and 6 to 9 PM Sunday. Other Pritzker highlights include a "men in kilts" contest Saturday at 4:45 PM (hopefuls can register between 11 AM and 4 PM that day) and a Mother's Day limerick contest at 2 PM on Sunday. A Celtic art fair runs throughout the fest, and daily bagpipe parades begin at 11 AM and 3 PM at Cloud Gate (aka "the Bean"), which is also the site of the weekend's pipe-band performances. The Wee Ones Play Area is open from 11 AM to 7 PM each day and includes miniature golf, face painting, and one of those big inflatable things (a bounce castle? a moon walk?) that kids like to jump around in. —Kevin Warwick

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