The mission of the New World Celts is to promote awareness of the outstanding contributions and history of the Celtic Peoples in the formation and continuance of the New World.
Started in Dunedin 20 years ago, Volusia County has its own chapter.
Meetings are at 7 p.m. every third Monday of the month at the Abbey Bar in Deland. You do not have to be a member to attend or participate in events. Membership dues of $25 per year do help fund scholarship programs.
Additional goals of the New World Celts are to provide a forum for the exchange and promotion of Celtic cultural information between the Celtic Associations of the New World, and to act as a liaison for coordination and assistance to these organizations.
Traditionally Celtic is defined as a person being part of seven Celtic nations, which include Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, the Isle of Man and Galecia. New World Celts include other countries, such as the United States, Australia and Canada. To be a member of New World Celts, you don’t necessarily need to have Celtic heritage, you just have to have a “love for the culture.”
The mission is also to provide a vehicle for charitable donations to promote Celtic culture in the New World in the areas of cultural awareness, music, dance, athletics, re-enactments and other areas deemed appropriate by the International Executive Committee. In essence, to perpetuate Celtic culture and history in the New World and to provide a fraternal atmosphere for members.
Of course, the group also has fun. Members volunteer at a variety of events throughout Volusia County, which support community causes. Several fundraisers are conducted throughout the year to support the scholarship program.
Angela Hart is the president and has been part of the Volusia chapter for 10 years (it started the year before she joined). “I got involved because I was interested in genealogy. I am one of the 40 million Americans who claim Irish and Scottish ancestry,” Ms. Hart said. “Wherever you find a group of immigrants from those (original) places, they carry the Celtic culture. There’s a lot of building of our new world that we kind of owe to those people who were brave enough to leave where they were. We celebrate it all and keep the history alive.”
Ms. Hart particularly embraces the fact the group gives scholarships out for unique talents, such as harp playing.
Ann-Marie Willacker, chapter treasurer, said, “We get together, we study Celtic heritage and we raise money for scholarships for Celtic activities, anything from dance to athletics. (For example) we give a number of scholarships to young Irish dancers and new bagpipe players. We attend most of the local Celtic and Scottish festivals. The Central Florida Highland Games is the largest one in our area, we attend that. We’ll usually do a kilt night where we get together with a couple of other Celtic groups or clubs. We (also) do small events throughout the year. We are a group of people who love the Celtic culture and we want to learn more about that culture and educate others about that culture.”
It should be noted the 10th annual Ormond Beach Celtic Festival, usually the third week of April each spring, has been postponed to September. Clans, pipers, and highland games athletes will gather at The Casements and Rockefeller Gardens Sept. 11-12. The award-winning festival features more than 30 bands on five stages, Celtic food and vendors, a gathering of clans and the Highland Games. The event usually draws about 10,000 visitors over the two days. Tickets for the new dates will be available online beginning in August.