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Fourth Wellesley ceilidh fundraiser set for Saturday

The village of Wellesley will be dancing along to some Scottish-themed tunes this weekend all for a good cause, with the proceeds of the upcoming ceilidh event funneled towards Habitat for Humanity.

The fourth annual ceilidh is always scheduled during the middle of the cold winter months, when members of the community likely don’t see each other as often due to less-than-ideal weather. It gives locals an opportunity for a lively event in their own backyard without having to brave the icy conditions on the roads.

“So we were just looking for a community event that would appeal to all ages,” said organizer Jennifer Sommers of the event’s inception. “Something that parents could take their kids to, that grandparents could go to, this multigenerational kind of event.”

A “ceilidh” (pronounced kaylee) is a traditional Scottish or Irish social gathering, usually involving dancing and folk music at a community gathering place. Sommers had attended a few ceilidh events when she was a student at the University of Guelph, and the idea to host a local one was sparked from there.

“I just thought it was so much fun, with the dance caller, and everybody getting out on the dance floor and all that,” said Sommers. “So we decided to try it four years ago, and it was so well-attended, and people just loved it. So it’s become an annual event.”

Featured will be the local Celtic band Failte, reliving their tradition of headlining the event every year. Wellesley’s Stephen Todd is the lead singer and is acting as dance caller for the night.

“He teaches three dances through the night and gets about 100 people up on the dance floor to do these dances together,” said Sommers.

Other amenities include a self-serve photo booth with dress-up clothes, Scottish chocolates and candy from St. Jacobs Taste of Scotland store, sticky toffee pudding, Kilkenny beer, and scotch.

“We actually will stop ticket sales at 275,” explained Sommers. “Even though hall capacity is 350, we’ll stop at 275 because we want space for the strollers and the dancing and all of that. And it’s generally a sold-out event. So people should get their tickets early. It attracts a really wide variety of people and has really gained momentum over the years.”

The Wellesley ceilidh will take place at the Wellesley arena on Saturday (January 19). Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the band/dancing is scheduled to run from 7-10 p.m. The bar is open until 11 p.m. Tickets are $5, and free for children five and under, with all the proceeds going towards Wellesley Project of Habitat for Humanity.

Tickets can be purchased at Pym’s Village Market, off any Lions club member, or online.

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