Welcome to Glen

o Celtic dancer: Shawn Silver has come all the way from Newfoundland, Canada to perform at the Celtic Festival this weekend. His performances last year attracted big crowds to the stage and he’s sure not to diappoint this year. His Irish Portugese heritage has given him a passion for Irish dance which is considered a sport in Ireland. Photo courtesy of William Chapman.
o Celtic dancer: Shawn Silver has come all the way from Newfoundland, Canada to perform at the Celtic Festival this weekend. His performances last year attracted big crowds to the stage and he’s sure not to diappoint this year. His Irish Portugese heritage has given him a passion for Irish dance which is considered a sport in Ireland. Photo courtesy of William Chapman.

THE crowds are rolling in for the start of the 2012 Australian Celtic Festival.

Campers are filling the Glen Innes Showground and local caravan parks, while motels are all but booked out for the entire weekend.

The Glen Innes Tourist Information Centre has been buzzing over the last few days with visitors and locals dropping into purchase tickets and find out last minute information. But the extra staff are on hand at the centre to handle the rush.

Administration assistant for the Australian Celtic Festival, Mary Hollingworth, said while some visitors have already arrived, the majority will flood in over the next couple of days.

“Most of the visitors will arrive today and tomorrow. The only accommodation available now is the odd cancellation. We’re expecting the Showground to fill up quickly as well.”

Mrs Hollingworth said all signs are pointing to a bumper weekend.

“It’s shaping up to be the best festival ever,” she said.

The Festival has extended this year, with events on from last night right through until Monday, although it does not officially open until Friday afternoon.

“We’re encouraging visitors to stay in Glen Innes Celtic Country a bit longer,” Mrs Hollingworth said.

Two campers who got the early jump on a prime campsite were Margaret Stone from the Tweed Valley and former local Tricia Keelan who arrived on Tuesday.

Mrs Stone has been coming to the festival for the past five years and says it’s one of the highlights of her year.

“We thoroughly enjoy the festival,” she said.

“I just love all the music.

“We’re staying right through until Monday.”

Mrs Keelan is a former local who was a caretaker at the Showground for six years, but has never had the chance to see the festival first hand.

She and her husband have been travelling the country recently, but decided to come back and experience the festival.

“We decided to come back and see what all the hoo-ha was about,” she said.