Monday, September 1, 2003

Middfest featuring Scotland



By Nancy Young
Enquirer contributor

MIDDLETOWN - Middfest organizers are moving along with preparations for this year's annual cultural festival, after torrential rains badly dampened last year's.

The festival, which features Scotland, will be Oct. 3-5 in downtown Middletown.

This year, Middfest features everything from kilts to a model of the Loch Ness monster.

Golf activities commemorate the land where modern golf began, and there will be displays of tartan fabric and an art competition.

Entertainment centers on traditional Scottish music, with performances by Mad Anthony Wayne and the Hamilton County Pipe Band, Caledonian Pipe Band, Kirking the Tartan, The Scottish Pirates and Highland Dancers.

Middfest tradition dictates that an American entertainer welcome the featured country's visitors, and this year the honor goes to larger-than-life puppets Prairie Wind Dancers.

Traditional Scottish food will be available, along with cooking demonstrations.

First held in 1978, Middfest celebrates international arts, history, culture, sports and food with an emphasis on a different nation or region each year. More than 18 countries have been featured, and people from the spotlighted country are invited to participate and represent their culture.

The celebration attracts more than 100,000 each year.

Middfest trustees sought donations this year, "with our immediate challenge to recover from the economic disaster of the last Middfest celebration," when the weather was so uncooperative, board members Margaret Fiora and Don Easterly said in a fund-raising letter.

Donations and sponsorships have helped this year's festival bounce back, event publicist Ann Mort said.

"I think it is important to the community," said Debbie Morrison, a Middletown native who now lives in Hamilton.

"People seem to like the diversity from the other countries coming in. I think a lot of people would be disappointed if it faded away."

Middfest 2003

What: Annual celebration of international culture with an emphasis on a different nation or region each year.

Where: Donham Plaza, downtown Middletown

When: 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 3, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 4; and noon to 8 p.m. Oct. 5

Admission: $5 adults; children are free.

Information: Call Middfest Executive Director Virginia Ritan at (513) 425-7707, or visit www.middfestinternational.org




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