Betsy Paradis (left) shows Kim Meyerdierks an ancestry book at the Bangor Public Library during an Irish genealogy workshop as part of the 2017 Bangor Celtic Crossroads Festival in September 2017. The 2019 version of the festival kicks off Friday. Credit: Ashley L. Conti | BDN

The third iteration of the Bangor Celtic Crossroads Festival launches Friday, kicking off three days of traditional Celtic music, sports, food and education.

The festivities begin at the Bangor Arts Exchange with a concert from Gerry O’Connor, one of Ireland’s best known modern fiddlers. O’Connor hails from Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland, where he was surrounded by traditional Irish music and dance from an early age. He has recorded 14 albums throughout his career.

Joining O’Connor is Maine native Kevin McElroy, a guitarist, singer, and banjo and fiddle player from Freeport. McElroy has been performing throughout New England for the last 30 years, both as a soloist and with Irish musicians including Seamus Connolly, Brendan Tonra and Joe Burke.

O’Connor and McElroy will perform at 7 p.m. Friday at the Bangor Arts Exchange.

Events and workshops will take place from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday that aim to educate those who attend about Celtic and Gaelic music, dance, history and culture. Events include Celtic story time, a musical instrument “petting zoo” where children learn how to use traditional Celtic instruments, a librarian-led genealogy workshop, and extensive opportunities to hear, learn, and play Irish music, including an open Irish music session at the end of the day.

Saturday’s activities will close with evening performances by Andrew Finn Magill from Asheville, North Carolina, who has made a career in traditional Irish music as well as Brazilian choro, jazz and American fiddle, and Dan Faiella, a guitarist from New Hampshire whose playing is inspired by harp and banjo as well as his sister and musical partner Liz Faiella’s Irish fiddling.

Sunday will include live music by Twisted Strings at Paddy Murphy’s Pub from 12 to 2 p.m., followed by the Gaelic Athletic Games with the Portland Hurling Club from 2 to 4 p.m. at Union Street Athletic Fields.

The festival was founded in 2017 by Pauleena MacDougall, director emerita of the Maine Folklife Center at the University of Maine.

Tickets for the entire festival — which includes all concerts, workshops and sessions — are available for $45. Tickets can also be purchased for individual events.

For more information on buying tickets and to see a full schedule, visit