Try your hand at Celtic games—in a kilt

The Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival is coming to Edgewood, after 30 years of holding the event in Albuquerque.

On Oct. 20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. people can participate in Celtic games at the Edgewood Soccer Complex.

The cost to attend is $12 for ages 12 and up. Kids under 12 are free. For people who want to participate in the events, the cost of $30 for the day includes lunch and a T-shirt. Folks can sign up at celtfestabq.com until the day of the event.

Last-minute competitors can also sign up in person on the field the day of the event. People can also sign a waiver and try out some events during the lunch break to decide.

This will be the first time that the Celtic Festival has come to Edgewood. Grant Oliver, President of New Mexico Celtic Athletics, Co-chair for Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival and Board of Director for the Rocky Mountain Scottish Athletics, worked with Carla Salazar at the Edgewood town office to bring this event to the East Mountains. “I get sick of the big cities and am starting to prefer small towns,” said Oliver.

There will be several traditional Celtic games to try. Modern shot put is derived from the Breamer Stone, Oliver said. Originally, rocks were thrown from a standing position. Over time the rock evolved into the cannon balls that we all recognize as shot puts now. This event is a one-handed throw from a standing position. Men will throw a 23-pound rock and women will throw a 13-14-pound rock. The goal is to throw it the farthest distance, just like shot put.

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Another event is called Open Stone, in which participants can glide or spin. It is still a one-handed throw.

In Weight Over Bar, the objective is to throw a weight with a handle over a bar with one hand. Men will throw a 56-pound weight, and women will throw a 28-pound weight. For this event, the goal is to throw it the highest.

For Sheaf, a simulated bale is thrown over a bar with pitchfork. The men throw a 20-pound bale and the women a 10-pound bale, of burlap sacks filled with twine; traditionally the bale was a bundle of green branches.

The fifth and sixth events are light and heavy distance throwing with a weight. Again, it’s a weight with a handle. The seventh and eighth events are light and heavy hammer throwing. The objective is to throw it the farthest. The hammer is cast steel weighing 22 pounds for the heavy men’s division and 16 pounds for the women. The lighter hammer weighs 28 pounds for men and 12 pounds for women.

The last event of the day is called Caber: in which competitors throw a log end-over-end at a target on the ground. It is an accuracy event. The logs range in size. The smallest is 10 feet long and weighs 25 pounds and the largest is 20 feet and two inches in length and weighs 130 pounds. For the shape of the log, Oliver said, “imagine a telephone pole.”

Oliver also said that all participants, even the women, are required to wear a kilt for all events. Kilts are available to borrow, with a driver’s license as collateral. Sizes ranging small to plus-sized.

There are also kilts one can purchase online at Kilt USA or Sport Kilt. There is also a Celtic Shop in Old Town in Albuquerque.

Other things folks can look forward to are Celtic dancing demonstrations, live music and Celtic dog breeds. There will also be food trucks and Star Brothers, Ale Republic and Santa Fe Brewing will be on-site with local beer. There are also rumors of Shepherd’s Pie available for sale. For more information or to sign up visit celtfestabq.com.

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