Apparently our town has a large proportion of individuals with Scottish and Irish origin. Why else would we have our very own Celtic Festival every March?
I guess it helps that we apparently have a fairly large proportion of nerds. Driving up from Dallas is the Black Wolf Society, a group of Viking reenactors who stage battles, make crafts, and answer pretty much any questions you have for them. Another group was there representing Iron Age Ireland. Apparently the Choctaw Nation sent financial aid to the Irish during the Potato Famine, so a bunch of Native Americans were there. There's even a vendor with a white beard who makes his own penannular cloakpins, drinking horns, cast-iron spoons, and even hnefatafl boards. Well, they weren't boards. They were just squares of fabric with glass pieces that he wanted $30 for.
"Hnefatafl was the most common Viking board game until chess came around," I explained to my friend who had come with. "That's the king in the center of the board. He wins by getting to one of the corner spaces. The offense--that's the pieces here along the sides--they win by capturing the king. But since defense usually wins, people played two rounds. Whoever got the king to the corner in the least number of moves wins." I turned to the vendor's assistant. "Can I get a discount for my knowledge?"
Ten percent of thirty is three, subtract...I'm not spending twenty-seven dollars on a fancy handkerchief and some pretty pebbles. "Thanks, but I'll probably make my own." I want a solid version anyway. I can probably repurpose a checkerboard.
This was my city's third Celtic festival, but my second. So I knew what to expect. I also had plenty of time to prepare a costume--two of them, actually.
I made this costume after the first Celtic Festival. The head-scarf is just a fabric remnant from JoAnn's. The green frock is also, actually, a fabric remnant--I was lucky to find one that was twice as wide as most fabric. I also made the belt through a process called tablet weaving, which was a fun experience but probably not something I'll end up doing regularly.
At any rate, it ended up too hot to wear the brown dress--the only part of my costume I purchased ready-made besides the socks and shoes--to the festival. I picked a short-sleeved shirt instead. Viking outfits are well-suited for the Nordic regions, but not for Texas.
My goal was to be mistaken for one of the Viking reenactors. I think it worked!
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to sell any books at the festival. The group of local authors I belong to wasn't able to secure a vendor's booth, and I lack the funds to set up an independent booth. But maybe next year will be different. And maybe I'll have actual brooches, so I won't have to wear the ends to a can of cinnamon rolls (which I added to the straps of the dress after the above picture was taken).
Have you ever been to a Celtic Festival or another kind of cultural celebration? What was your favorite part? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to purchace Where the Clouds Catch Fire on Kindle!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.