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Dave Olson, Published March 09 2013

Annual Celtic Festival draws crowds in Moorhead

Moorhead - Glenn McDavid sees himself as something of a myth buster.

A member of Clann Tartan, a Twin Cities nonprofit that gives demonstrations and shares facts about ancient Celtic culture, McDavid and his colleagues were doing just that Saturday at the 10th annual Celtic Festival, held at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead.

McDavid was wearing a kilt and other woolens made with checkered tartan cloth, which many people associate with certain clans in countries like Scotland and Ireland.

What most people don’t know, McDavid said, is that tartan patterns did not start out being tied to specific clans.

He said that was especially true in the 1600s, when woolen clothing like kilts were standard fashion during what has been called the little Ice Age.

“The whole idea that a particular tartan belonged to a particular clan actually came about much later, not until the 1800s,” said McDavid, who manned a display Saturday that included swords, shields and other weaponry.

His wife, Mia, was nearby, demonstrating 17th century wool technology.

For the McDavids, educating others about Celtic history is a labor of love.

“We don’t get a dime out of it,” Glenn McDavid said.

And for those attending Saturday’s festival, much of it, from parking to musical entertainment, was free.

Organizers of the festival said they expected about 1,500 to attend the one-day event, which was put together by the Fargo Park District and Moorhead Parks and Recreation.

Hallie and Ron Anderson, of Fargo, were checking out the festival Saturday morning, something that has become an annual tradition for them.

Hallie Anderson said she has an interest in Ireland, as that is where her grandfather, William Sharkey, was born.

Ron Anderson’s interest in the Celtic lands is more general.

“It’s always interesting to learn more about other cultures. And try the food,” he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555