City with long Welsh history gearing up for North American Festival of Wales
A city with a long Welsh history is gearing up for the North American Festival of Wales.
Utica, in New York State, will host the celebration of Welshness over Labor Day Weekend, and will kick off with a flag-raising at 3pm on September 2 at City Hall.
Welsh immigrants began to settle in the area in the 18th and 19th centuries, many of whom wanted to freely practice their religion away from the Church of England.
Utica is hosting the festival its fifth time since it started in 1929.
It will be based out of the Delta Hotel by Marriott on Genesee Street, with lectures held on Welsh culture and language.
Events include a bus tour of Welsh Chapels in Remsen as well as a tour of Underground Railroad sites in Utica, where people will learn about prominent Welsh abolitionists in the area, according to Ted Engle, a member of the St David’s Society of Utica as well as a coordinator for the festival.
Several of the events will focus on music and singing, with concerts will be held every night at the Delta Hotel and Stanley Theater.
An Eisteddfod will be held Saturday at the Delta Hotel, and the festival with end with a musical flourish when a “Gymanfa Ganu” takes place at Westminster-Olivet-Moriah Church on Washington Street in Utica.
Engle told the Observer-Dispatch: “Welsh people love to sing, so they’re kind of known for four-part singing.”