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Celtic traditions alive and well at 28th annual Almonte Celtfest

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For 28 years, the Almonte Celtfest has had residents and visitors tapping their feet to traditional fiddle music and dancing with thousands attending the free event every year.

Since its first edition in 1997, the festival has sought to keep Celtic traditions alive with a unique array of musicians, dance and food all supported by donations.There was no shortage of food vendors and activities in Gemmill Park on Sunday, just steps away from the river and Almonte's historic downtown.

Dawn Dewar and Ella Bangs took to the main stage on Sunday. The duo grew up surrounded by Celtic traditions in their homes.

"I grew up on fiddle music throughout the Ottawa Valley and my dad played a lot of Scottish music as well," Dewar said.

"I feel like performing in front of people is so much better than dancing alone at home just in front of the mirror. It gives you an extra boost of energy when there is a crowd."

Patrick Delahunty and his family arrived early in the day to take in the sights and sounds to reconnect with their roots.

"They are local, they are part of our heritage, our history. It’s what made us who we are and we celebrate that," Delahunty said.

“It’s also nice to come out, sit down, enjoy it, have a beer and relax."

Kristina Skeries, the festival's artistic director, says one of the keys to the continued success of the three day event are the artists who come to perform, some internationally known.

"I think it’s great to keep up the traditions. It's great to encourage up-and-coming young people to get into this kind of music to play and dance. We love supporting local musicians," Skeries said.

"We love supporting local vendors too. It’s all about community."

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