WHAT'S ON

Celtic essentials and Covid-safe

Preparations at the Australaian Standing Stones are underway.

Preparations at the Australaian Standing Stones are underway.

This weekend Glen Innes and visitors won't see a full-blown Celtic Festival program -- hence the 'Fringe Festival' moniker to differentiate -- but there's still plenty to do.

Council's tourism and events officer Rhonda Bombell said while there has been an easing of restrictions since the festival's COVID-safe plan was first devised, organisers are sticking with the original plan as the situation can change so quickly.

Therefore there's no street parade, strong man competition, fun run or jousting this year. The Celtic Music Awards and Dance Championships have been postponed, considering the lack of performing opportunities in the past 12 months. As the entertainment scene normalises, however, Mrs Bombell is hopeful of a triumphant return next year.

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Ticket sales for the Fringe events remain strong with a sell-out of premium tickets providing guaranteed (socially-distanced) seating in the entertainment precinct. Tickets for empty seats will be released for sale onsite an hour before opening, although online bookings are preferred.

The $25 tickets provide three hours of access to the entertainment precinct, to soak up the Celtic vibes with plenty of music and food on offer, and the infamous Boar N Drum Bar.

It's free access to the market precinct which is developing into something of a food festival, Mrs Bombell said. In addition to the Celtic-themed offerings there is a number of local community groups getting involved.

She consider the precinct's pièce de résistance to be the Fairy Marquee, a nod to the lore of the Isle of Man which is one of this year's designated Celtic countries, along with Ireland.

Gold coin entry via the fairy bridge opens up a world of wonder, with some fairy story-telling, fairy wand making, toadstool painting and more.

Mrs Bombell feels the market precinct will be a good place to hang out and absorb the Celtic ambience, and ceremonial spectacles like the Kirking of the Tartan (Sunday at noon) remain. The Celtic Fashion Awards will be on at Town Hall, and many other venues around town are hosting themed events.

Those purchasing entertainment precinct tickets are automatically COVID-registered but there will be ample points elsewhere to register by way of QR code or manually.

Mrs Bombell recommends coming prepared for four seasons in one day with cold evenings the norm. She suggests snuggling into a blanket, thermal socks, and a whole lot of dancing.