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Faire brings Celtic flair

The Fresno Stag and Thistle Pipe Band roamed the fairgrounds performing traditional bagpipe music. (Amy Alonzo/Copyright 2004, The Union Democrat).
The Fresno Stag and Thistle Pipe Band roamed the fairgrounds performing traditional bagpipe music. (Amy Alonzo/Copyright 2004, The Union Democrat).



Wenches, fairies, leprechauns and knights added even more color to the bright green hills of Frogtown over the weekend.

A welcome change from years past, the 18th annual Calaveras Celtic Faire at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds featured warm weather and sent more people in search of pints of Guinness than shots of whiskey.

But the half-hour-long lines died down as soon as bands, including Scottish headliner Wolfstone, took the stage.

The group's energetic performance — featuring guitars, a fiddle, bagpipes and drums — drew dancers to the front of the stage and left those still in the stands clapping to the beat.

The bright sunshine and festivities drew more than 20,000 people.

Many were Celtic Faire regulars, dressed in traditional kilts and flowing dresses.

Shawn Allyn, Chris Reguilon, Sally Rivers and Daniel Elm — all part of The Guild of Santa Maria — drove from the Bay Area to play an ambassadorial group from the Medici Court in Florence. Representing a Jesuit priest, entertainer, household steward and vintner, the four — along with other players in the almost-40-member group — relaxed yesterday afternoon after enjoying a traditional medieval feast and educating guests on European history.

But other out-of-towners were still bustling around as a pink sunset settled over the green hills.

Costumer Vickie Dibble from Ventura helped Camarillo artist Sylvia Cochrane peddle mystic gossamer wings. The duo answered questions from little girls who dreamed of becoming fairies and young brides wanting fairy-like flower girls.

Dibble — a quality assurance technical editor for the U.S. Navy during the week — said she started helping Cochrane eight years ago with the handmade creations. Cochrane started selling the gauzy wares at Grateful Dead concerts 16 years ago, and now markets them at fairs and festivals.

"It's for childrens' dreams, to take flight," Dibble said, whose stand offers dragon wings for boys, and fairy wings, knotted skirts, magic wands and hair ribbons for girls.

The Celtic festival also drew thousands just out for a family day.

The Walker family, from Hayward, said they came to escape the city. Each one raved about the cuisine, music and how friendly everyone seemed.

"Sarah had a great time explaining to someone what a car was," said Deana Walker, of her 9-year-old daughter's meeting with a Medieval actor.

"They couldn't get the gas thing," Deana said. "They were thinking other than petroleum."

But Saturday evening, as the main stage quieted down and tourists retreated, some of those actors remained in costume. Drum circles sent rhythms star-ward and fire throwers showed off their skills late into the night.

Contact Genevieve Bookwalter at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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