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The First Annual Harp and Highland Fest is an all-day event celebrating Celtic culture both in its music and traditions. Along with dance performances and cooking demonstrations, vendors will be selling jewelry, clothing, and genealogy information. There'll even be a "wee folk glen" for the kids. Along with local acts (like Raleigh's Bragh Adair), guest performers include Ireland's Saw Doctors, a rootsy, contemporary acoustic rock group whose records are bestsellers in Ireland. And for those of you who think the sound of bagpipes is about as appetizing as a plate of lukewarm haggis, give a listen to Neil Anderson (formerly of Celtic rockers Seven nations), who takes traditional fiddle and pipe material and gives it jam-band, fusion flavor. For you sea dogs, there's maritime-style, sea shanty fiddler Richard Wood, a 23-year-old high-energy performer who's won a number of awards for his step dancing as well as his fiddling. Also appearing is Cathie Ryan (pictured above), a renowned veteran of the Celtic scene who's charmed fans with her pure, lilting mezzo-soprano vocals since the '80s when she fronted Irish supergroup Cherish the Ladies. Now a solo artist, Somewhere Along the Road, Ryan's third disc on Shanachie Records, features her lilting trills, heartfelt lyrics and traditional stylings. The fest takes place Saturday, Sept. 14, noon to 11 p.m., at the Amphitheatre at Regency Park, Cary. For details, call 462-2025 or visit --Angie Carlson

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