Everything You Need to Know about The Celtic Classic

The 36th  Annual Celtic Classic Highland Games and Festival runs from September 22 to 24 and is jam-packed with entertainment. Whether you have Celtic roots or are simply a fan, this is the perfect way to spend a weekend! The lineup includes live performers plus Celtic competitions. This Celtic Classic is a Bethlehem highlight for the year and should not be missed!

Everything You Need to Know About The Celtic Classic!

The Performers

The Celtic Classic features six stages, so there are always live performances to enjoy! Visitors will be treated to some of the best Celtic performers, from traditional Irish dancers to acoustic trios and raucous pipe bands! You’re sure to become a fan of any of these fantastic artists.

Vendors and Merchants

For authentic, quality Celtic goods, don’t miss browsing the merchants. There is always a wide variety of goods available and you’re sure to find something to bring back to your loved ones or keep for yourself. The food vendors are always spectacular. While Celtic food is most common, you’ll also find more standard festival fare.

The Competitions

Get into the competitive spirit at The Celtic Classic!

Celtic Classic Irish Soda Bread Contest

Are you a baker? Do you have a family recipe that’s been passed down through generations? Then, enter the soda bread contest! It’s free to enter; just fill out the registration form and bring one loaf of soda bread per category on an unmarked paper plate covered in plastic wrap. Your plate will be given a number upon registration. There are two adult categories: traditional and nontraditional. If you have a baker-in-training in the family, there is a special award for the best junior baker (16 years old and younger).

U.S. National Highland Games Championship

The festival’s most prestigious competition, the U.S. National Highland Games Championship always excites! Athletes from across the U.S. compete to qualify for a spot in nationals. The athletes must perform feats of strength, speed, agility, and skill,  which were common during fairs, clan gatherings, hunts, or any large gathering in medieval Scotland.

Celtic Classic Youth Fiddle Competition

To see the rising stars of the fiddling world, watch the Celtic Classic Fiddle Competition. Guests can watch as competitors play traditional Celtic music, showing off their proficiency with the bow. Festival attendees can also attend a free fiddle workshop taught by one of the judges of the contest. The workshop will give advice on how to turn an ordinary tune into something memorable.

2023 Haggis Bowl

Don’t let the simplicity of the contest fool you: these competitors are dedicated and serious about the Haggis Bowl. The fastest participant to eat one pound of haggis wins. There are no seasonings, condiments, or sauces allowed. Haggis must be eaten as it’s presented. This event is always a crowd favorite, so show up early to get the best view!

Pipe Band Competition

Pipe Bands are a long standing tradition in Celtic culture. From the bagpipes to the drum corps and midsection, there is nothing quite like it. In the competition, the bands compete against others of similar skill and perform required tunes. There are two separate competitions, Grade 4 and Grade 3.

Drum Major Competition

With the pipe band comes the drum major leading the charge. They are the showmen of the performance, with attention paid to dress, stave, and performance. The Drum Major Competition pays tribute to this attention, judging on the execution of the commands to the band, how the major keeps time, marches, body carriage, and mace movements.

Celtic Classic Poetry Competition

Writers of all ages can enter the Celtic Classic Poetry Competition. Awards will be given to entries that best reflect the culture of the seven Celtic nations in traditions, arts, history, or literature. Personal anecdotes of family, studies, or travelling experiences are encouraged.

Stay at Sayre Mansion

During your visit to The Celtic Classic, stay at the luxurious Sayre Mansion. We are located in the heart of Bethlehem, PA, and provide a gourmet breakfast every morning for guests. Our prime location and beautiful mansion make Sayre Mansion the best place to stay in Bethlehem.

For more fantastic events like The Celtic Classic, download our free Vacation Guide.