Bagpipes & Bonfires: Stillwater Church Hosts Celtic Celebration

A parade marches down the street as part of The Episcopal Church of the Ascension’s Bagpipes & Bonfires event.
The Episcopal Church of the Ascension’s 2019 Bagpipes & Bonfires event features food, drinks, prizes and more.

By: Brianna Kaiser

Parading bagpipers, a crackling bonfire, sizzling pub food, camaraderie in beard and kilt contests: These are just a few of the things that will be at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension’s 2019 Bagpipes & Bonfires event in Stillwater. 

“This is built as a Celtic celebration,” Don Greeley, event co-chair says. 

Although everyone is welcome, it is a very adult-focused event. Guests can purchase a pouch of coins to redeem for beers, wines and non-alcoholic refreshments from Lift Bridge Brewery, fish and chips from Global Foods and Sara’s Tipsy Pies 

Additionally, guests can participate in contests and activities like Hammerschlagen (a nail driving competition) and ring toss. As for the beard contests, there are the six inches and shorter event and the free-style event, and the contests are open to men and women. For the kilt contests, there are best legs and best kilts. All the prizes are Celtic in nature. 

There will also be raffle prizes, including the grand prize of two round-trip airline tickets to Ireland for a seven-night stay. 

“It’s going to be a good celebration,” Greeley says. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.” 

A bonfire burns at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension's Bagpipes & Bonfires event.

According to Greeley, over 500 people attended the last Bagpipes & Bonfires event and most of them were not from the Ascension community. That is part of what this event is all about. 

“The important thing for Ascension is we’re finding a way to build community,” Greeley says. 

Through Bagpipes & Bonfires, the Ascension community can be involved in an event that isn’t church-related, and anyone can come, have fun and learn about Ascension. 

In addition to building community, Bagpipes & Bonfires is an important fundraiser for Ascension. Money raised is used to renovate the historic church and sponsor community outreach programs. 

The Bagpipes & Bonfires event is on Sept. 28 in front of Ascension Episcopal Church located at 214 N. Third St., Stillwater. Activities begin at 5:30 p.m. with the ceremonial lighting of the bonfire. The event will wrap up at 10 p.m.