Expect lots of Scottish music, dancing and food in Wellesley this weekend. The Wellesley and District Lions Club will be hosting their Ceilidh Night Saturday (January 20) from 7-10 p.m. at the Wellesley Community Centre.
“(It’s) a chance to dress up in Scottish regalia if you wish, a chance to learn group dances or just enjoy the music and watch others learn the dances,” said Jennifer Sommer, member of the Lions Club and organizing committee for the event.
The festivities come just in advance of Robert Burns Day, the celebration of the birthday of one of Scotland’s best-known and beloved poets, which is marked around the world on January 25.
Just three years ago, the local Lions Club had been looking for a family-friendly event to host, with the hopes that it would bring the community together for fellowship and fun in the middle of the winter months when folks don’t see each other as often.
“The idea of a Ceilidh came up, I had been to several during my years studying at the University of Guelph and had fond memories of a night of fun,” she explained. “When we realized we had members of a Celtic band living locally, the event got off the ground.”
That local band is known as Failte. Now an annual event, they have headlined since the inception of the event. Stephen Todd, a band member local to Wellesley is joined by his wife Ellen, who happens to be the caller, someone who teaches dance steps to the crowd, for the dances.
“They happen to live in Wellesley as well and every year their enthusiasm for the community and the event is apparent,” said Sommer.
In addition to dancing and music, there will be a snack and drink bar featuring themed beverages and food along the lines of whisky, Irish beer, shortbread, Mackintosh Toffee, haggis meat pies and scones.
Celtic music and offerings aside, Sommer’s stresses that the event is held really to bring out every member of the community.
“It’s a way to experience amazing music and community fun. Something the entire family, neighbours young and old can enjoy,” she said. “It’s also affordable fun for the family – $20/family ticket or subsidized tickets available if needed. We want the event to be accessible to all.”
This year, proceeds from the evening will be going to the Wellesley Habitat for Humanity build.
Blair Cressman, first vice-president with the Lions Club expresses the desire to do things in your own back yard is very prominent among villagers.
“You can do something in your backyard, people are looking for that,” he said. “A lot of families with young kids are looking for just an opportunity, for a night out with their kids involved. It was so successful in the first year, we held it again last year and it grew last year as well. So again just not a real big fundraising event just really more focusing on having a really fun night for families, a pretty neat event.”
The sense of inclusiveness the event provides, is something he enjoys seeing – not only as an organizer, but also as an attendee.
“Families get out on the dance floor – young and old, grandparents, young kids and just go through the dances – they play just amazing Celtic music,” he said. “My kids just ran around with their heads cut off for the entire event and when you’re there, their faces are just so flush, just running around having a great time all night – just a great success.
“A fun event in town.”
Tickets for this weekend’s Ceilidh Night are $20 for families (regardless of family size), $5 for seniors/students and $10 for adults, available at Pym’s grocery store, the Esso gas station or by contacting a Wellesley and District Lions Club member.