ARIZONA HIGHLAND CELTIC FESTIVAL
Founded in 1997. The Northern Arizona Celtic Heritage Society is dedicated to presenting, promoting, and preserving Celtic culture. Co-founder Jude McKenzie tells us about the organization’s annual festival, which takes place this is weekend in Flagstaff.
What is your own ethnicity / heritage?
My own ethnicity is a blend of Celtic (Irish, Cornish, Scottish, Breton) and central European.
When and why did you get involved with this event?
I got involved in the event actually before it was an event. My husband and I are founding members of the Northern Arizona Celtic Heritage Society.
What are the challenges of being involved?
The challenge of being involved is not having enough time in the day. I spend about 30 hours each week on the festival and other events we do.
What are the rewards?
The amazing people who give of their creativity, talent and sweat to make events happen; satisfaction of supporting other entities and being able to provide scholarships ($73,000.00 to date!); being able to make something good happen!
Why is it an important event for the community there?
Our event is important for our physical community because it brings people here to spend money. It is good for the Celtic community because we give a very rich cultural experience (check out our educational workshop offerings at the festival!), and provide the opportunity for pipers, drummers, dancers and athletes to compete.
What can attendees expect this year?
Attendees can expect to have a wonderful time of culture, warmth and friendship.
How else are you involved with the Celtic community there?
I am involved in most everything Celtic that goes on in Flagstaff as it is not that big a community and we tend to support each other.
Are we doing enough to preserve and promote Celtic culture generally?
Are we doing enough to promote Celtic culture? Never, but with more energy and time, I see it as a happening thing. It is so positive.
What can we be doing better?
What we could do better is to look at ways we can support and reach out to make those things happen. I mean, who knew there would be 2 schools here? The Jim Thomson U.S. School of Piping & Drumming and the Grand Canyon Celtic Arts Academy! Amazing….and all due to the passion of the people who started them.
What does the future look like for the event?
The future looks great for our event because we have a tremendous amount of support….volunteers make it happen!!!!