A huge crowd turned out for family fun at the Eleventh Annual Scottish-Irish Festival, held over the weekend at Green Lane Park. More than a dozen music and dance groups provided entertainment, including the Martin Family Band from Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. Leader Nelson Martin says they play a lot of Celtic music, but they also throw in a few other tunes.
“When we have a Celtic event like this we hope the people enjoy even the ones that we throw in. We had a polka that we threw in today and did another Bluegrass piece, and Bluegrass has its roots in Scotland. It’s not like it’s a totally different thing. It’s like a language that has a dialect.”
Martin says he and his wife and five of their six children, ranging in age from nine to 19, play in the band, and it’s a very enjoyable hobby.
“A lot of people say you guys look like you’re having fun. We really are. We enjoy each other’s company as a family and, apart from that also, definitely the Grace of God in our lives.”
Martin says they have about 80 performances this year, mostly at festivals and county fairs and other family-oriented events. The 69th Pennsylvania Irish Volunteers were also at the festival with a Civil War encampment. Historic Re-Enactor Bob Levine of Ivyland says the regiment marched out of Philadelphia and played an important role in the war. He says he’s not Irish, but he thinks people need to know about the two million Irish who came to America during the Civil War, and the contributions they made to their new country, but in addition to that he loves the music.