By Anna Michael
The Cincinnati Enquirer
WEST END - With patrons adorned with green, the distinct sounds of Celtic music filled the rotunda at the Cincinnati Museum Center as the sixth annual Celtic Lands Culture Fest kicked off Saturday.
Inside the museum's doors, vendors sold Celtic merchandise while a crowd stood around a three-person band playing the Celtic harp, fiddle and mandolin. The band is part of the Riley School of Irish Music in Clifton.
IF YOU GO
What: Celtic Lands Culture Fest.
When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. today.
Where: Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, 1301 Western Ave., West End.
Information: (800) 733-2077.
Coletta Valentine of Anderson Township listened to the band with her granddaughter Tiffany Williamson, 7, who wants to learn Irish dance.
Valentine came to the fest because she recently toured several Celtic countries.
"We visited Ireland last fall, and we were really impressed," she said.
Michelle Padilla, manager for marketing communications at the museum, said she expects about 8,000 people to visit the two-day festival, just in time for St. Patrick's Day Wednesday.
The Celtic Lands Culture Fest is the fourth of five celebrations in the museum's 2003-04 Passport to the World series. The Latin American, African and Appalachian culture fests have been held, with the Asian Culture Fest coming April 17-18.
Nearly 10 vendors were selling Celtic clothing, music, jewelry and art - much of it handmade.
Vendor Sally Crutcher of Anderson Township was selling custom Celtic stained-glass sun catchers. She has been designing them since 1988.
"People seem to be really intrigued with the Celtic artwork - the print colors and the mixing of designs together" Crutcher said.
In addition, Riley School of Irish Music hosted performances in the museum's auditorium.
Thirteen-year-old Annette Volk of Springdale studies Celtic music on the flute at the school. She was wearing a headband with shamrock antennae, shamrock earrings and shamrock-covered socks.
"It nice to have different backgrounds to appreciate music more," Annette said.
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