The Beach Celtic Festival Kicked Up Its Heels at the Dora Keogh

The Beach Celtic Festival Logo

By Sandy Graham

On a beautiful sunny evening (certainly not reminiscent of Scottish weather) friends, family and entertainers that are part of the Beach Celtic Clan gathered at the famous Dora Keogh on the Danforth in Toronto, Canada to support a worthy cause, a women’s shelter known as Julliette’s Place.

The date was the exact date that Julliette, whom the shelter is named after, was killed by her abusive husband, right in front of her two children. Sad but this is only one story of many of the same, and the support and awareness for this is urgently needed. That is why The Beach Celtic Festival has decided to make Juliette’s Place their charity of choice for this year on September 10 and September 11 in Kew Gardens in the Toronto Beach.

The amazing night of entertainers, auction items, and a feeling of a kitchen party prevailed and a beginning amount of dollars were raised to start the campaign that will continue on until the actual festival in September.

Hosted by Hugo Straney, who also MC’s for the Beach Celtic Festival, the evening rang in four hours of dancing, singing and fun for all – with a free admission but the request to purchase the $ 20 gift bags with all the proceeds donated for the cause.

Meghan Bold and her Bold Steps Dancers tore the house down (and the floor and I think the Dora was quite happy there were tenants underneath with the thundering sound of their heels pounding out the rhythms of both highland and step dancing.

Bold Step Dancers and The SeaSick Sailors.JPGBold Step Dancers and The SeaSick Sailors.JPGThe Seasick Sailors gave a romping rendition of Great Big Sea songs, interspersed with great ditties self-penned by Mark and the crew. Men in kilts, bodhran drums, and slick guitar riffs – doesn’t get any better than that!

Don Graham, as always, faithfully gave his offerings of songs that he wrote for his Mum, ‘Pipes and the Mist’and ‘The Calling of the Clans’, along with a Scottish favourite ‘Ya Cannae Kick Your Granny Off the Bus’. Don Graham, my brother, has been a firm supporter of the festival in memory of our family and ancestors.

The audience was a great mixture of entertainers as well as celebrities with Beach Celt of the Year Lorraine Theed in attendance, Director Gail Harvey, Cashbox Editor Lenny Stoute, Cashbox CEO Bill Delingat, EMG’s Natasha Slinko,Michael Farrell of the Celtic Dance Centre, Producer Don Maclean  and the next generation of the clan, my boys Graham and Ian Robertson.

A special treat was a performance from Jon Pilatske and Cara Butler of The Cheiftains, who are in pre-production for their own show with the Stepcrew.

A very big thank you for our loyal supporter MPP Michael Prue for always showing up at all our events (and for purchasing auction items as well).  Heather Ostertag, creator and producer of the Panty Schmooze, donated all her time (and a lot of ‘unmentionables’) as well as a ton of auction items to make the night a success.   Moran Taing ! (Many thanks!)

Please visit our Picture Gallery to see photos of this great night!