4-10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Memorial Park, 1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave., $15, $5 ages 5-12, $12 military, free ages 4 and younger; 635-8803, pikespeakcelticfestival.com
Though you may only be in Memorial Park, for the day you're allowed to imagine that you've been transported to Scotland. As you eat your fish and chips and watch men in kilts battle it out in the Highland Games, feel free to forget where you are. This is all accepted - in fact, it's encouraged - at the Pikes Peak Celtic Festival this weekend.
The festival, formerly called the Pikes Peak Highland Games until its last edition in 1999, was reincarnated last year and renamed the Pikes Peak Celtic Festival. The effort was spearheaded by Joseph Poch, who was waiting for the chance to take over the festival that his grandparents once helped organize.
Learning from last year's event, the festival has implemented a few changes - the musical acts will now take place on outdoor stages, as opposed to the indoor tent from last year. Among the musical acts, Poch is particularly excited about Scottish band Albannach, who play percussion and drum-based Scottish music.
"We take it back to the grass roots," says Jamesie Johnston, bass drummer and vocalist for Albannach. The band's name is Gaelic for "Scottish."
"Being able to use a Gaelic name appealed to me because it keeps Scotland and Scottish culture on the map," Johnston says. "I've always fancied it because it's basically what we are."
Albannach usually makes a yearly appearance at the September Scotfest in Estes Park, but because the members will be in Scotland for the vote on Scottish independence Sept. 18, the band needed to find another way to satisfy their Colorado fix - and the Pikes Peak Celtic Festival was the right match.
"Being surrounded by the Rocky Mountains is something that you can't complain about," says Johnston, who hopes to finally climb a fourteener when he's in the area.
Among the other festival attractions are performances by Celtic Steps, the Colorado-based Irish dance school, and the 79 Highlanders Pipe Band and libations provided by Jack Quinn's Pub.
"It's something really niche," Poch says of the festival. "There are a lot of people out there with our heritage, and it's really to celebrate where we came from."
Celine Wright, The Gazette, firstname.lastname@example.org
Poor Old Shine - 7 p.m. Thursday, Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts, 304 Colorado Highway 105, Palmer Lake, $15-$25; 481-0475, trilakes arts.org.