By Sue Kelch

The original Saline Celtic Festival, held in 1996, has seen a few changes throughout the last 25+ years.  The biggest changes most recently include the decision to relocate the festival to the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds in 2023 to allow for growth and expansion; and in 2024 was officially renamed The Michigan Celtic Festival.

And to the delight of the audience, a whole smorgasbord of venues are available and continually added; from the Highland Dance competition, bagpipes, Highland games, Mr. Pretty Legs contest,  Stonehenge/Strawhenge, wee folks activities and just last year the newly added Corgi races.

Photo by Sue Kelch

This year, Cara Barker Yellott – Admissions and Celtic Breed Chair for the Celtic Festival –  would like to expand the festival with more Celtic equine and, as she states, “highlight our vibrant local equestrian community.”

Yellott has volunteered with the Celtic Festival for many years in an assortment of roles and brings her experience as a lifelong equestrian and professional riding instructor of more than two decades.  She has handled horses for movies, Renaissance fairs, onstage in a live opera, and manages the Privateer Riding Academy.

Aside from her volunteer title, in her words, she describes herself as “the ‘evil’ mastermind behind the introduction of the Corgi races last year, official ‘head unicorn wrangler’, and now the ‘boss mare’ of all things equine and livestock.”

Truly, who better to put in charge of building the Celtic equine community than the one who introduced the Corgi races?

Yellott states “The Celtic nations have a long and storied history with horses. Many famous racehorses and jumpers have been of Irish breeding. Scotland has produced everything from the massive Clydesdales of Budweiser fame to the tiny Shetland ponies who have taught countless children worldwide how to ride.  This year, we are inviting our Celtic breed representatives out into the arena to show off the talents that make each breed unique. We hope to mix education with fun, by introducing Michiganders to history and culture that they can pet in our Celtic Breeds Showcase.”

And who knows, you may even have a chance to ride a unicorn!

If you have a Celtic equine and/or are interested in getting involved in the equine program at the festival, please contact Cara Barker Yellott at

For more information on The Michigan Celtic Festival, visit their website at or Facebook page.

Photo by Sue Kelch

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