Bagpipes achieve their full emotional effect only when performed live, just as great literature becomes comprehensible only when screamed aloud in a crowded subway train. Enjoy public performance with today's Groupon: for $13, you get one weekend pass to Meadow Highland Games & Celtic Festival in Doswell (a $27 value).
The 17th annual Meadow Highland Games & Celtic Festival celebrates kilt-country traditions with a weekend packed with live music, authentic cuisine, a Celtic market, and sundry athletic competitions. Headlining musical acts feature bands such as Albannach and Barleyjuice, who get tartans twirling with native jigs and ancient war songs. A series of heavy athletic feats display equal parts brawn and will with a bevy of weight-throwing contests, including the caber toss, in which participants flip tree branches that measure 21 feet long and can weigh 150 pounds. Festival-goers may also witness harp, fiddle, and dance competitions, and the market offers a trove of Celtic arts, crafts, and traditional togas.
Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival
The Mid-Atlantic Balloon Festival gives visitors a chance to get an up-close view of more than 20 hot-air balloon teams from across the country, and then observe them in their natural habitat: the sky. The weekend-long festival is held on the grassy expanse of Meadow Event Park. The main attractions are the morning and early-evening flights, when all 20 colorful vessels take to the air at once and gracefully interrupt the annual paper-plane migration.
On Saturday, a sweeping balloon-glow display will light up the night sky. Meanwhile, off-site rides instill wonder with dawn or near-dusk flights in one of the balloons—and include transportation back to the grounds in the chase car. And yet balloons aren't the festival's only draw: regional crafts vendors display their hand-made apparel and arts, while craft beer and wine tastings pair with food from local restaurants. Throughout each day, live bands play classic rock and new wave, old-school jazz and R&B, and folk-infused country.