Welshfest 2013

Mother Nature smiled on the 2013 Welshfest as a crowd gathered for opening ceremonies in downtown Rockmart.

Agnes Hagin

The fourth annual Welshfest will be held on Saturday, March 15 in downtown Rockmart.

Organizing the event are Greg Gray, Euharlee Valley Historical Society; Karl Welsher, St. David’s Welsh Society of Georgia; Pat Sampson, Rockmart Historical Museum; and Welshfest co-chair Savannah Wall.

Welsher predicts the festival will be “bigger and better” than ever.

A number of the events will be held in and around Museum Square in downtown Rockmart. The historic Van Wert Church and cemetery will open at noon for docent led tours. The church was once the center of activity in the community, which drew a number of Welsh slate miners as early as 1838.

Two bus tours to the historic church will depart from the side of the museum at 1:30 and 3 p.m. These bus rides will include guides who share history of Rockmart. A stop will also be made at Wesley Chapel AME Church.

Welshfest attracts a wide variety of participants who will have a booth at the festival. Included on this list will be Ginger’s Fudge, the Polk County Historical Society or Compassion House, Appalachian Celtic Connection and The Corner Shoppe.

The Euharlee Valley Historical Association will have hamburgers, hotdogs and barbecue, Rockmart Museum will sell old fashion lemonade, the Boy Scouts plan to sell sodas and don’t forget the Welsh Tea Room.

Sam Jones has allowed the festival to use the stacked slate building on Church Street during the festival. It will house a display on Welsh products available for purchase in the United States, a book signing area for local authors and one of the storefront windows will feature a special display by the Rockmart Historical Museum.

The Museum will be open during the festival for docent led tours. Several special displays are planned, including a model Welsh village and an informative display on the Norfolk Southern Railroad. A movie on early Rockmart will play in the conference room.

A schedule of events include:

The nationally known Welsh American band Moch Pryderi (Pryderi’s Pigs) will headline the entertainment for the day.

The band formed as a result of the Fredericksburg Welsh festival in 1998 and has been together since. Their music is firmly rooted in the traditional Brythonic-Celtic music of Wales and Brittany, occasionally interwoven with traditional music from Ireland, Scotland, Turkey, and the American-Appalachians.

Moch Pryderi has performed widely on the east coast, including the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., The Celtic Classic in Bethlehem, Pa., the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the Washington Folk Festival, the Fredericksburg Welsh Festival, the Philadelphia Welsh Festival, the Historic Rugby Tennessee Festival of British and Appalachian Culture, the Celtic Nations Heritage Festival in Lake Charles Louisiana, the Welsh Heritage Center in Wymore Nebraska, and the North American Festival of Wales in Cleveland Ohio.

The group’s instrumentation includes the rare Welsh triple harp, Welsh pibgorns and Welsh bagpipes as well as highland pipes, fiddle, Breton bombarde, bouzouki, flutes, whistles and percussion. Moch Pryderi’s vocal abilities create a diversified pallet for Moch’s distinctive and haunting sound.

Schedule of Events:

7 a.m. - Fun run registration

8 a.m. - Fun run

9 a.m. - Opening ceremony

Drop off for Honey Show begins

10 a.m. - Vendor Village opens

Welshexpo opens

Bus tour of historic homes

Children’s area opens

11 a.m. - Judging of honey contest begins

Book signing

Noon - Men in Rockmart (in Kilts)

Van Wert Chapel opens

12:30 p.m. - Walking tour of historic downtown

1 p.m. - Honey Show opens to public

1:30 p.m. - Bus trip to Van Wert

2 p.m. - The Welsh cup games

2:30 p.m. - Cakewalk

3 p.m. - Bus trip to Van Wert

4 p.m. - Awards ceremony

5 p.m. - Festival closes