ShamRocking the Park: Saline Celtic Festival Offers New Activities

 06/06/2014 - 15:17

The Saline Celtic Festival will have a new twist on its traditional Friday night kick off – “Saline ShamRocks The Park,” a July 11 party in Mill Pond Park featuring the high energy Celtic rock music of Barleyjuice, and retro music from The Square Pegz, an ’80s tribute band from Detroit.

Barleyjuice – also performing July 10 in the Summer Music Series in downtown Saline and Saturday during the main Festival events – will bring the night alive with raucous drinking songs and wild Celtic rock. This Philadelphia group is fronted by Kyf Brewer and Keith Swanson on lead vocals, guitars, accordion, harmonica, mandolin, bouzouki and bagpipes; Irish-Italian musician Alice O’Quirke fiddles Irish and bluegrass mingled with jigs and hornpipes, Keith Barnes pounds drums, and Eric Worthington plays bass.

“Barleyjuice is very excited to perform for the Saline crowd,” Brewer says. “We’ve been honing our craft for seven albums and 15 years, and always enjoy playing for new people. We’ll be performing all the favorites people may have heard on the radio and iTunes, and songs from our new album, ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.’”

The Square Pegz, a self-proclaimed “most wicked pop band around,” will ring the changes for Friday’s music. Cindee Lish on lead vocals, Ruby Red on keyboard and vocals, Nikki Neon on guitar and vocals, JQ Funk on bass, and vocals, and Carol D on drums replicate the sound of “decade of decadence” with 80’s cover hits, big crimped hair, lots of neon, jelly bracelets and bodacious vocals.

The gates open at 5 p.m. on July 11 and admission is $5. Partygoers will also find previews of Saturday’s all-day festival, with jousting knights on horseback; music and dance; athletes from Ancient Athletics; a large assortment of Michigan craft beers; and much more.

Saturday’s events include the Mastodon Celtic Challenge, a fun and challenging 3-mile obstacle course involving hills, mud, woods, water, and more. New this year is a course designed for children ages 10-15. Sign up at

This year’s festival will also feature exciting jousting contests, showcasing the world’s first invitational Mounted Martial Equestrian Games Series, historically inspired competitions with elements from thousands of years of military and war horse training, including jousting, dressage, jumping, archery, firearms, swordsmanship and cavalry.

Wee Folks Island will showcase several new activities, including a Wee Golf Course, jewel crowns, fairy door decorating, and stroller/wagon decorating for the Wee Folks Parade; as well as perennial favorites like the Ducky Races, Wee Haggis Hurl, dragon slaying and more.

This year’s bands include Celtic rock from the Vermont group, Prydein; the Jeremy Kittel Trio; Finvarra’s Wren; Fiddlers Restrung; and the Chelsea House Orchestra.

The park will be filled with Celtic music and dance, pipe bands, Highland athletics, historic re-enactments, sheepdogs, and much more – and “Millie the Mill Pond Monster” and her two monster offspring will rise from the Saline River to roar at the crowds.

Tickets at the gate on July 12 are $5 for ages 13 to 17, $15 for adults. Active military, seniors ages 65 and over, and children 12 and under are free. Adult tickets are $10 when purchased online and groups of 10 tickets are $80. Tickets will also be available for sale at Saline City Hall the week of the festival.

For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit






Sheila Pursglove
Sheila Pursglove is a long-time Saline-area resident, and a freelance writer for several publications in Michigan, around the U.S. and abroad.