Bethlehem, September 23, 2021 – – Senator Lisa Boscola announced today on the eve of the 34th year of the Celtic Classic Highland Games & Festival that she has secured $50,000 in state funding for the Celtic Cultural Alliance in support of the internationally known event that brings over a quarter million people to Bethlehem for the 3-day event.
“This $50,000 state grant will ensure once again that the Celtic Classic will be a tremendous success and bring about a significant economic impact for businesses across the Lehigh Valley,” Boscola said. “Celtic Classic is the largest free Celtic festival in North America and I was proud to work with the Celtic Cultural Alliance to secure this funding at a time when non-profits are facing incredible hardship in maintaining their programming and events.”
“Senator Boscola and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognize how important internationally recognized events being held here in Bethlehem are to the local, regional and state economy,” Jayne Ann Recker, Executive Director of the Celtic Cultural Alliance stated. “This state grant is critical to CCA being able to hold the Celtic Classic during these difficult times.”
The Celtic Classic Highland Games & Festival, apart from last year’s cancellation due to COVID-19, has been held annually in Bethlehem since 1988. It is not only unique to the Lehigh Valley, but also to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The three day culturally authentic event includes the US National Highland Games Championship, which is the “Super Bowl” to highland athletes, Pipe Band competitions, world class Celtic performers and cultural education performers.
The economic impact of the Games is generated through 250,000 visitors to Bethlehem over the course of three days that support the local and state economy by patronizing hotels, restaurants, retail establishments, gas stations and other entertainment venues. According to a recent study, 49% of the patrons to the Celtic Classic traveled twenty or more miles from outside the Lehigh Valley to attend the event.
The state funding came from the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Marketing to Attract Tourists Program, which provides funding to support and development international tourism, sports marketing, outdoor recreation, and cultural attractions with a primary goal of the program being to promote overnight stays.
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