Over the weekend, fools, ghouls and creatures of the nightly realms all found their way to the All Hallows Fantasy Faire in Sonora, one of the Halloween season's most spectacular treats.
This year's fair featured a costume ball and contest, 13 chambers of horror, a fire-breathing dragon, warrior encampments, belly dancing, a fire show and much, much more.
"We've been doing the All Hallows Faire for five years now," said Patrick Karnahan, who started the Sonora Celtic Faire 26 years ago.
The fair is run by 10 staff members and about 50 volunteers from around the area. Around 4,000 people attended last year, and organizers expected the same for this year. Karnahan said his favorite part of the fair is the variety of the people who attend.
"It's wonderful seeing how creative some people can be," he said. "There are store-bought costumes and there are costumes people make themselves I love to see originality."
The fair featured a number of colorful entertainers and performers.
"I tell ghost stories for the old and young, both while on stage and while I'm wandering the streets," said Carpathian, a wanderer and teller of tales who has been attending the fair for three years. "The fair is a celebration of all things macabre and mysterious. This has a part in the other Renaissance fairs as well, but this is one of the few fairs dedicated entirely to the mysterious world of Halloween."
Fairgoers showed up garbed in outlandish outfits based on the fair's costume categories, which included mythical, Gothic, steampunk, horror, dieselpunk and sci-fi.
"I am a jester by day, and a true bard a singing performer, believe it or not, and a wanderer of the night," said costumed spectator Micah Van Zandt, a musically inclined Modestan who often performs at the Queen Bean's weekly open-mike night. "Seeing people walking around all dressed up is very entertaining, and the live music, of course, is great," he added, never stepping out of character.
"There was also some dancing earlier and some fighting with phony weapons, and I like that, too, since I can fight as well."
"This is my second year attending the fair," said the self-proclaimed "time-traveling cryptoarchaeologist" and steampunk magician Professor Algernon, an Oregon native who tours the United States performing at events such as this one. "The patrons of (All Hallows) are really a lot of fun."
Steampunk was a popular category, and Murphys native Ryan Nurowski showed up with a self-made and fully functional fire-belching mechanical arm, which he crafted out of a drum cymbal, an old lamp, and bits and pieces he found at antique stores.
"A lot of handmade work goes into the steampunk genre," he said. "The result is gorgeous. People come back year after year with better and better stuff."
Nurowski's costume earned him first place in his category of the costume contest. Entries ranged from sparkling white snow queens to zombie belly dancers and vampire pirate lords. The dance floor was transformed into a fairy-tale masquerade ball as costumed revelers reeled across the floor and danced to the pounding rhythm of Irish punk and Celtic rock bands, including the Black Irish Band and the Blackeyed Dempseys.
The fair concluded with a spectacular fire show put on by Eclectic Caravan and the Oracle & Burning Sky Musicians.
"My favorite part is mainly the atmosphere of the people here," Nurowski said. "You can't step two feet without people being all into each other's costumes and what they have going on. The themes they come out with are absolutely awesome it really keeps people involved and in the mix."
Annie Mathews is a senior at Gregori High School and a member of The Bee's Teens in the Newsroom program.