Celtic Festival Kicks Off

"There's something to be said about big, burly guys running around in kilts," says Jayson Tisdale of Saucier.

And there were plenty of them at this year's Scottish Highland Games and Celtic Music Festival. Jayson Tisdale was one of them. This was his first year to compete in South Mississippi's Highland games, which included a hammer toss and caber throw. He wracked up quite a few medals.

"It really gave me a chance to compete more against my self, and granted we've got everyone out here competing, but it's more of a competition against your self," Tisdale says.

But the festival isn't just about brawn and strength. Dancers on St. Andrews stage proved to be light on their feet. And there was a little something for everyone.

"We have the blacksmiths, we have the bagpipe competition. We have different vendors throughout the arena that sell all sorts of cultural items of the Scottish and Irish heritage," says Celtic Festival Leader Jeffrey Green.

The festival was cancelled last year because of Katrina, but this year, things appear to be back in full swing.

"I think the turnout's been exceptional. It started out a little bit dreary this morning, which is typical scottish weather, but then the sun came out and it was nice and warm," Green says.

Merion Poirrier is from Scotland, but has lived in Long Beach for 15 years. She says this festival keeps memories of her homeland and heritage alive.

"All these people here have Scottish heritage," Poirrier says. "They want to find out where they came from, and so, I mean, it's awesome."

The festival continues Sunday at the Harrison County Fairgrounds.

Admission is 10-dollars a person. Military, police and firemen get in for half the admission price.