The Celtic Colours International Music Festival has been an overwhelming success in the Richmond County area as well as around the whole island. Richmond had visitors come into the area to take in the festival, many for the sixth and seventh time, just because they have enjoyed the festival so much. The interest in the festival was not only in the shows but the whole community; the meals and tours and many functions held in conjunction with the festival. The community dinners are one of the most popular features. I know here in Richmond our community dinners sell out every night they are offered, with the St. Georges Channel Fishcakes and Beans and L’Ardoise Sounds and Supper by the Sea always a hit with visitors.
The musical venues in Richmond had the most amazing variety of talent. BeauSoleil Quartet avec Michael Doucet drew rave reviews from those who came into the Visitor Information Centre talking about the performance. A Touch of the Irish organizers heard visitors commenting that this year’s concert was the best they had ever attended in Lower River. St. Peter’s Ceilidh On the Canal continues to sell out year after year with visitors commenting how much they enjoy this venue. And not only are the visitors who attend the show impressed with the performance, but those behind the scenes who volunteer and the entertainers, who are always amazed by the community group who prepares the meal for all those taking part. I was told by festival organizers that it is never hard to get volunteers for the St. Peter’s event. The River Bourgeois’s community group did an excellent job entertaining visitors with their Afternoon Kitchen Ceilidh and meal as did the community groups on Isle Madame who did tours of the Notre Dame de L’Assomption Church and an afternoon of music and Roast Turkey Dinner and St. George's Channel community’s Arm of Gold Song Session. The afterhours Kitchen Rackets held nightly throughout the festival at the Bras d’Or Lakes Inn in St. Peter’s and at L’Auberge Acadienne Inn in Arichat and at the MacDonald Country Inn in St. Peter’s on the nights of their respective area's concerts were major hits with the visitors and helped to add to the visitors Cultural experience of being able to sit back and relax with the local entertainers and mix with members of the local community, which always adds to the memories of those attending the festival. With comments about the fabulous times they are having attending the festival and how they are planning on coming back next year, is it any wonder that the Celtic Colours International Festival has been listed among the finalists for the TIAC 2011 Canadian Tourism Awards in the National Cultural Tourism Category. The Tourism Awards were established in 2003 to recognize success, leadership and innovation in Canada’s tourism industry and to honor those people, organizations and events that have gone above and beyond the norm to offer a top quality visitor experiences to travelers visiting Canada. Celtic Colours definitely fits the bill offering 45 concerts with the best of Celtic entertainers from abroad as well as the best of Canadian Celtic performers, and combined with 300+ community events running right across Cape Breton Island and being able to maintain a volunteer base that works very hard to make sure the festival is a success and in doing so offers an experience that would be hard to top anywhere in the world. Our hats are off to the Celtic Colours International Festival organizers and congratulation for this year’s nomination, you deserve it.