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Sonora Celtic Faire brings knights, step dancers, jousters to area

Sonora Celtic Faire brings knights, step dancers, jousters to area

Music will highlight the 2011 Sonora Celtic Faire.

POSTED March 11, 2011 10:55 p.m.

Anyone wishing to get into the spirit of the shamrock a little early, need not look any further than the hills in Sonora.

The 25th Annual Sonora Celtic Faire is up and running for this weekend. For three days the Celtic Faire celebrates the cultures of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall with authentic food, entertainment, games and historical re-enactments.

The highlight of this year’s Celtic Faire will be the West Coast Ultimate Jousting Championship, which will be filmed by National Geographic Television. Over a dozen fully armored knights on horseback will converge on the Mother Lode Fairgrounds and compete in full contact, heavy hard hitting jousting.

No one has seen this type of jousting since the 1500s in England and Scotland,” said faire founder and chief executive officer Patrick Karnahan.

The competition is being filmed by National Geographic Television for a new reality show about modern jousting.

Each show will follow the lives of modern knights to six locations in the world. It will cover their personal stories of why they joust, and why people come out to watch it at a Celtic Faire.

The programs style will be based on the very successful series ‘Ice Road Truckers’ and ‘Axe Men,’” Karnahan said.

Music will also highlight the 2011 faire. This year’s headliners include Celtic sensations Wicked Tinkers, The Blaggards, Brother and Tempest.

“Bagpipes and fiddles galore will get everyone up and dancing,” Karnahan said.


Other Celtic Rockers include: 1916 Irish Band, Avalon Rising, and Sligo Rags. Traditional Celtic groups include, Golden Bough, Black Irish Band, and Greenhouse. Three full Scottish Pipe bands will be marching along with many solo Celtic performers and dancers.

A popular draw at the faire is the Scottish Highland Games, which features competitions like the caber toss and the hammer throw.

For those who enjoy the more artistic side of Celtic culture, the faire will feature Irish step-dancing, similar to the “Riverdance” troupe, Highland Scottish Dancers and Sierra spiral Dancers. Additionally, there will be street performers, fire eaters, jugglers and jesters who will use their wit to skewer those who come in modern attire.

To provide an element of education, the faire will include a historical village with 300 costumed re-enactors.

The Celtic Faire is located at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora. Gates open at 10 a.m. today and Sunday and close at 10 p.m. Saturday and 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

The jousting championship bouts will be held both days at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. The joust arena can hold 3,500 people under cover, and about 2,500 people on side bleachers. The event will take place rain or shine. All seats are first come first serve, and are included in the general admission price. Two hundred box seats will be available for purchase per joust, and include food and beverage service at an additional fee of $30.

Tickets at the gate are $25 for adults, $20 for students and seniors and $10 for children 6 years to 12 years. On Sunday the adult tickets will be $22.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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