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Indulge in Celtic music and cultue this weekend
Emerald Rose will perform this weekend as part of the Celtic Music Festival in Dahlonega.

0305Celtic-Maggie Lauder

"Maggie Lauder" by Emerald Rose.

0305Celtic-Loch Lomond

"Loch Lomond" by Emerald Rose.

Don’t be alarmed by the roving pipers around the square in Dahlonega this weekend.

In fact, feel free to step right up and ask them about their pipes. The pipers, along with Celtic-themed bands, artisans and storytellers, will converge on downtown Dahlonega this weekend as part of the first Dahlonega Celtic Music Festival.

The event offers workshops ranging from spinning wool to playing the penny whistle, and it’s a great chance to either celebrate you own heritage or immerse yourself in something new, said Donna Sullivan, manager for the Irish band Emerald Rose.

“We decided to expand the knowledge of Celtic culture and bring that to the fore, and have people remember their heritage,” said Sullivan, who was instrumental in organizing a similar festival in Gainesville several years ago. “And for those of us who just wish that we were Celtic, also to be able to understand the hardships these people suffered.

“They came to America, found a new home, they blended their culture — their Irish dancing became our clogging — and how important it is that you are still proud to be a McMurry or that you wear a badge that says, ‘Kiss me I’m Irish.’”

Sullivan said she and Emerald Rose provided their Celtic contacts’ information to the Dahlonega Chamber of Commerce to help organize this new event.

During the day, stores around the square will be home to various workshops. Piper Sam Johnson, who helped along with Amy Booker, projects and events coordinator with the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County

Chamber of Commerce, to organize the event, recommended a workshop that teaches about ulian pipes, or Irish bagpipes, which are not common in this area. He said he was also looking forward to the spinning workshop, which teaches about Highland and Celtic spinning, and the tin whistle workshop, which will be conducted by a musician who is gearing it toward both kids and adults.

“We would like to immerse people in the Celtic culture when they get here, so when they leave they get a really good flavor of the music, the food, and all of it, the different aspects of it,” he said.

Johnson will also be one of the roving pipers around the square.

Also, nationally touring Irish music bands such as Altan, Emerald Rose and John Maschinot of the Buddy O’Reilly Band will perform at the Holly Theatre.

Curtis Jones of the Dahlonega-based band Shamrock, who will be playing at the Holly, said the festival is a great way to get acquainted with Celtic music, too.

“We think (the festival) is the best idea in the world,” he said. “We’re all big lovers of all kinds of world music, so to have a world music festival in Dahlonega is a true gift for everybody.”