All things Celtic celebrated in Sonora

The cultures of Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall and Wales are celebrated at the Sonora Celtic Faire, where combatants in full armor also will be giving it their all through the weekend.

Live jousting and full-contact battles helped kick off the fest Friday at the Mother Lode Fairground; the 31st annual celebration continues through Sunday.

The fair is hosting this year’s Ultimate Jousting Championships, featuring knights on horses using solid lances for full-contact competition. In addition, the Battle of Nations foot combat continues, with fully armored knights using real metal weapons in one-on-one and melee bouts.

The festival fetes all things Celtic with an array of entertainment options. Musical performers this year include modern Celtic bands Celtica and Wicked Tinkers as well as more traditional groups such as Cooking with Turf, Molly’s Revenge, Golden Bough, Banshee in the Kitchen and Black Irish Band. Marching bagpipers also will make their way through the fairgrounds along with dancers.

Other performers include magicians, jugglers, a sword swallower and fire wizards. For children, there will be a storybook village with characters on hand.

In addition, the fair features a Celtic marketplace with hundreds of crafts people, artisans and importers. There will be plenty of food and whiskey tasting for the adults. Whiskey-tasting samples are $20 for eight tastes, $25 includes a commemorative glass. There will be three categories of spirit blends: Scottish single malts, Scottish blends and Irish whiskeys.

The Celtic fair continues from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday at the Mother Lode Fairground, 220 Southgate Drive, Sonora. Tickets are $25-$30. For more, go to

Pat Clark: 209-578-2312