Bitterroot Celtic Games & Gathering set for Aug. 20, 21 | Local News

Ravalli Republic

Celtic musicians, athletes, dancers, clans, friends and families return to Hamilton for the 13th Bitterroot Celtic Games & Gathering at Daly Mansion just east of Hamilton on August 20-21.

“We look forward to bringing the community a weekend of music and dancing, athletics, sports, sheepdogs, knightly jousting, Celtic culture and family fun,” said Cheryl. Tenold, president of the Bitterroot Celtic Society. “This year we’ve added even more entertainment to the mix, and we’ll have all the favorites like competitions, demonstrations, food and drink, and Celtic merchandise.”

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She said that according to the Bitterroot Valley Chamber of Commerce, BCGG is an important community asset.

“They said our event was bringing in between $750,000 and $1,000,000 in outside money because we bring people in from all over,” Tenold said. “We have become a destination event, it’s huge. We always wanted to benefit the community, culturally and with a really fun event, but we didn’t have a dollar amount goal.

The Bitterroot Celtic Society hosts the 12th annual Celtic Fest

Major Karla West of the Montana Highlanders Pipes and Drums of Kalispell awaits the Grand Opening Ceremony on Saturday at the 2021 Bitterroot Celtic Games and Gathering at Daly Mansion.

Perry Backus

The Bitterroot Celtic Society is an all-volunteer non-profit organization with a nine-member board and a 10-member BCGG committee that meets monthly for a year. More than 130 community volunteers are on hand to help organize the two-day event.

Volunteer coordinator Darren Elliott said more volunteers are needed and volunteer opportunities can be found at

“This is an entirely voluntary organization, and new members and volunteers are essential and always welcome, year-round,” Tenold said. “There are jobs for everyone. We would like you to join our group of dedicated members. Along with free entry to the event, you’ll have the satisfaction of working with a large group of people and knowing that you’ve helped make it happen.

The Bitterroot Celtic Society hosts the 12th annual Celtic Fest

Missoula’s Declan Fladstol competes in the sheaf toss event at the 2021 Bitterroot Celtic Games and Gathering Saturday the Daly Mansion. Competitors attempt to toss 16 to 20 pound balls using something resembling an overhead throw a high bar during the event.

Perry Backus

BCGG is the largest sanctioned Highland track and field meet in Montana featuring kilted athletes from across the region. Competitions include caber throw, sheaf throw, weight over bar and weight for distance, hammer throw and stone throw. Adults compete on Saturday (pre-registration is required; rules and registration are at and juniors and kids are on Sunday (registration on site). Competition sites are spread all over the field and volunteers are needed to help guide youngsters to their next sites.

The popular Irish team sport of hurling will be demonstrated at 11.30am and 4pm on Saturday.

Live music and dancing will be featured throughout the two days on two stages. On the Music Tent stage, four bands will provide non-stop entertainment.

“Our music is phenomenal this year and we’re very proud of our music lineup,” said Tenold. “We bring in authentic, world-renowned Celtic bands and artists, like our headliner Teada from Ireland.”

Bitterroot Celtic Games and Gatherings 2021

The Bitterroot Celtic Games and Gatherings 2021.

Perry Backus

The Byrne Brothers, a father and three sons from Dublin, Ireland, the Gotthard Sisters with a trio of talents – they sing, play instruments and dance – and Blaggards will bring a range of Celtic music to the main stage. They each play twice on Saturday and once on Sunday. The Gazebo Stage will feature performances by Teton Skye, Colin Grant-Adams and Hunter Koss.

Bagpipes and drums will be playing from every corner of the mansion throughout the weekend.

The dance tent will feature Scottish Highland and Irish dance performances, demonstrations and workshops, including individual dancers as well as local favorites, the Missoula Highland Dancers and Missoula Irish Dancers.

The Order of Epona Tournaments will take place on both days and will bring together knights, ladies and noble horses to present medieval tournaments filled with jousting, steel sword fighting, equine stunts, medieval games and music.

Vendors will have Celtic themed items such as jewelry, clothing, gifts and decorations. The Bitterroot Celtic Society will have souvenirs and gifts featuring BCGG commemorative items. Beer and mead from local breweries will also be on sale.

Tickets for Scotch vs. Irish Whiskey Tasting Sessions can be purchased online or at the Bitterroot Celtic Society Merchandise Tent.

Bitterroot Celtic Games and Gatherings 2021

The clan gathers at the Bitterroot Celtic Games and Gathering 2021.

Perry Backus

The Bitterroot Celtic Games & Gathering hosts a large gathering of clans, a kind of family reunion of many Scottish and Irish clans. This year, 31 clans will be present to share their family stories and welcome visitors and possibly long-lost relatives.

The Henderson clan is the honored family this year.

A free cèilidh on Saturday evening is open to the public from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend and even share their own talents.

Doors open for free admission to all beginning at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Sunday morning opens with a non-denominational “Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan” church service at 9 a.m. This traditional Scottish-American service is rich in Scottish heritage, and all are welcome to attend.

Each day at 1 p.m. there will be a grand parade and opening ceremony that includes a moving memorial to those who have passed away over the past year. All the pipers join in playing “Flowers of the Forest” as the names of loved ones who died last year are read. Submit names to bcgg.orgor at the information tent.

The Bitterroot Celtic Games & Gathering is open from 9am to 7pm on Saturday, followed by the free cèilidh from 7pm to 10pm then Sunday from 9am to 4pm on Sunday. General admission for ages 12 and up is $12 ($9 with military ID) on Saturday and $9 ($6 with military ID) on Sunday. A weekend pass for both days is $18. Children 11 and under are free thanks to the Farmers State Bank.

Parking on the Daly Mansion grounds is limited and costs $10 per day; disabled parking is free with a permit. Guests are encouraged to park for free at Hamilton High School or Ravalli County Fairgrounds North Parking Lot. Free shuttles will run continuously from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Sunday. This year there will be a designated drop-off area at the entrance to Daly Mansion where passengers requiring assistance and families with pushchairs can be dropped off near the door before the driver pulls into the off-site car park.

Dogs are not permitted on the mansion grounds.

For more information on the Bitterroot Celtic Games & Gathering visit

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