The Hippo


Oct 20, 2019








A previous Celtic Fest. Courtesy photo.

Celtic Fest

Where: Wild Rover Pub, 
Kosciuszko Street
When: Sunday, Sept. 13, 5K registration is 8 to 10 a.m., the fest is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: Free admission. 5K online registration ( is $30 for adults 21+, $25 for youth ages 12 to 20, and $10 for kids ages 11 and under. Race day registration is $35/$30/$10.
Visit: Find “Wild Rover Celtic Fest” on Facebook

Get your Irish on
Celtic Fest celebrates halfway to St. Patrick’s Day

By Angie Sykeny

St. Patrick’s Day may still be six months away, but for Manchester Irish pub Wild Rover, it’s never too early to wear green. Join them in celebrating Celtic heritage — and the halfway point to St. Patrick’s Day — at their 24th annual Celtic Fest on Sunday, Sept. 13, held on Kosciuszko Street and the parking lot behind the pub. 

The fest will feature a 5K race, vendors, food and drink, live entertainment and more.
“Celtic Fest is just part of the fabric of Wild Rover,” Tom Puskarich, event coordinator, said. “For St. Patrick’s Day, we can’t have anything as elaborate as [Celtic Fest] because it’s during winter, so this is a way to have that Celtic and Irish celebration at a time where we have a better shot at the weather.”
The fest will begin with race-day registration for the Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day 5K from 8 to 10 a.m., along with $3 Bloody Marys, Bailey’s coffee and breakfast sandwiches. Puskarich said that most years, between 1,500 and 1,600 people participate in the race. The first 600 registrants will get an Irish kilt to run in, the first 1,000 will get an Irish tech shirt and all 21+ registrants will get a beer ticket redeemable at Wild Rover during the festival. The race will begin at 10:15 a.m. at the corner of Spring and Elm streets and proceed up to the North End, then back down Chestnut Street, ending at the pub.  
For the first time this year, Manchester’s Mayor Ted Gatsas will be walking the 5K. He will present the race awards at 11:45 a.m. and declare the day St. Baldrick’s Day.  
St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a nonprofit that raises awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research. Wild Rover has partnered with them for the last nine years to make Celtic Fest a charity fundraiser. From 11 to 11:45 a.m., and after 2 p.m., St. Baldrick’s will host the traditional head-shaving challenge; Not So Plain Jane’s Salon and Spa will be shaving willing participants’ heads to raise money for the foundation and show support for children who lose their hair as a result of cancer treatment.
The festival tents with vendors selling Celtic crafts and products, food vendors and beer gardens will be open throughout the day, beginning at 10 a.m. Food will include St. Patrick’s Day favorites like corned beef sandwiches and spicy Irish sausages, and Wild Rover will be operating as usual with food and drink specials.  
Live entertainment will begin at 10:45 a.m. and will include Celtic music and dance acts like Joe Deleault (10:45 a.m.), Celtic Beats (2 p.m.), Granite State Cloggers (3 p.m.), McGonagle School of Irish Dance (3:30 p.m.) and several others.
Some new additions to this year’s fest include an Irish acrobatic demonstration by Go Ninja and Irish bare-knuckle boxing demonstration by Bare Knuckle Murphy’s (noon) as well as the Wicked Spicy Wing Challenge from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., where contestants will have five minutes to eat 10 wings with ghost pepper sauce without the aid of a beverage. Those who complete the challenge have the option of purchasing an “antidote” — a glass of milk, peanut butter and antacids — to support St. Baldrick’s.
“[Celtic Fest] really transcends ethnic identity and is a good day to hang out [and] enjoy the late summer afternoon with friends and family,” Puskarich said. “Get a little exercise, drink a little beer and get your Irish on for the day.”

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