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Cortez Celtic Fair set for June 26

Last year’s festival was canceled because of coronavirus concerns
A Celtic Highland dancing competition is one of the main attractions for the Cortez Celtic Festival. (Courtesy of the Cortez Celtic Festival)

The third annual Cortez Celtic Fair will return this year to the Parque de Vida for a merry celebration of Celtic heritage.

The event, billed as the fastest growing Celtic festival in the Southwest, is scheduled for June 26 from 11 a.m to 7 p.m.

While admission is free, the proceeds from beer and wine purchases will go to the Four Corners Child Advocacy Center.

The fair became a popular community event after the success of Celtic Day at the Montezuma County Fair in 2017. It has since been held in Parque de Vida in order to grow and be more centrally located.

As in past years, the festival will feature a Highland dancing competition, a tug of war for prizes, bands from throughout the Four Corners and various activities for children.

Last year’s event was canceled because of concerns about the coronavirus.

According to event organizer Randy McKnight, it was a close decision to go ahead with this year’s festival.

“This has been a long, difficulty year and a half,” McKnight said. “It appears that COVID is on the retreat, hopefully.”

The fair’s coronavirus rules will abide by the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, and hand sanitizer will be readily available for attendees.

According to McKnight, the Highland dance competition will be the first competition of Celtic dancing in the Southwest in more than a year.

The organization that oversees the competition, Highland Dance Albuquerque, will require that viewers and those running the competition wear masks. The competition will be the only indoor event at the festival. Child competitors will not be required to wear a mask while performing, according to McKnight.

Five bands from throughout the Four Corners will perform, with most of the musicians haling from Farmington, Durango and Cortez.

Beer will be provided by Main Street Brewery. Cortez-based Yellow Car Country Wines will supply wine and mead for attendees.

Almost all food vendors will be provided by local businesses.

A fire engine from the Cortez Fire Protection District will be on site for kids to explore.

Animals, such as Highland cattle, were a part of past festivals. McKnight told The Journal that he hopes to have animals there, but that it remains “in the planning process.”

Over 2,000 people attended the last Cortez Celtic Fair in 2019, according to McKnight. Turnout this year is less certain.

“We’re hoping for a good turnout,” McKnight said. “It should be a fun family day. Everybody’s a Celt for the day when they come to the Celtic Fair.”

More information can be found at cortezcelticfair.com