Sword fights, corsets, and giant goat people at the Sonora Celtic Faire

Queen Elizabeth
The Queen’s Court at the Sonora Celtic Faire

I am a sucker for themed dress-up events like the Sonora Celtic Faire. I love the Irish tunes rippling through the fairgrounds, with the occasional  Scottish strathspey straining to be heard. My heart beats hard to the pulsing Celtoid drums of bands like The Wicked Tinkers; my eyes mist over at ballads sung by the venerable harp-and-fiddle band Golden Bough; I make my fiddler swing me in the aisles to the raging reels of Molly’s Revenge.

I cheer at the anachronistic (and questionably Celtic) crash-and-bash heavy armor battles and charging horses carrying jousting knights. I admire the long sword-wielding solders in their swoon-worthy uniforms and leg-revealing hose. I shiver with a thrill of awe at the costumed players pretending to be royalty.

I even salivate at faux-Dickensian food like bangers and mash, and turkey legs bigger than your head. Who doesn’t want to gnaw greasy meat off a bone held like a cudgel in the hand?

Wings at the Sonora Celtic Faire

But what I like best are the costumes.

Three sprites at the Sonora Celtic Faire

I’m a nerd that way. I’m flabbergasted at the creativity of those clever enough to make intricate costumes. Most of the cosplay isn’t historically accurate,  but what it lacks in research, it more than makes up for it with creativity and fun.

goat people
Goat people on stilts

I mean, the goat people were just awesome.


Knights in shining armor
Knights in shining (and dented) armor waiting to do battle

The knights who bang on each other with wooden swords seem to take their competitions seriously.

Knight jousting
Knight jousting

The jousting ring was not so serious, with a lot of crowd pleasing banter and only a short display joust. But still, charging Percherons! Guys bashing each other with staves! More, please!

Sword play
Young lads sword fighting-Don’t try this at school!

Everywhere boys fought mock battles with swords—toy and real. Even in these modern times, video games  flicker dimly when compared to the romance of actually smacking each other with sticks. Real time, real bruises.

Bubble lady
Bubbles at the Celtic Faire

Originally I thought I would bring my sketchbook and draw, but the fun of photography won me over, and I captured many images that will grace my easel in the future.

Costumed queen
Queen for a day

As much as I love to draw, I mostly kept my sketchbook in my bag. There was too much going on. The camera allows me to capture ephemeral moments, like this young man well seated on his mount.

Boy with sword
Young knight and his ride

At the end of the day, exhausted, I sat still long enough to dig out my sketchbook and draw while I  enjoyed the traditional Irish music of my friends’ band, Cooking with Turf.

Irish band
Cooking with Turf

Cooking with Turf will be playing at the First Congregational Church in Murphys on Sunday, March 20th. Hope to see you there!




2 thoughts on “Sword fights, corsets, and giant goat people at the Sonora Celtic Faire

  1. Great pics, I especially love the goat people. How do they do that?

    Sent from my iPad


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