American Celtic traditions

By | Category: Travel destinations
Celts in armour?

Celts in armour?

Since we are in the season of celebrating many of our national patron saints not forgetting Cornwall’s St Piran, you would have thought that many of the celebrations would be in the home countries and Celtic lands. But no.

In the unlikely setting of Yosemite in California on March 7th begins the 28th Annual Sonora Celtic Faire.

Over half of Yosemite National Park is located in Tuolumne County.  In addition to Yosemite, Tuolumne County is home to Gold Rush towns, two state parks and vineyards.  In the mid-1800’s when gold was being discovered Sonora, Tuolumne County’s only  city, was a thriving Gold Rush town.  Most of the hard rock miners in Sonora were immigrants from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall.  The hard rock miners from Cornwall built the town and mill of Soulsbyville, a quaint hamlet located about 3 miles east of Sonora.

That explains why such a festival is enthusiastically received although how much of the festivities are actually traditional and how many are seen as attractive to visitors by the organisers is another matter.  In their words, this year’s Celtic faire will present five stages of Celtic Music featuring: Celtica, Tempest, 1916, Black-Eyed Dempseys, Banshee in the Kitchen, Black Irish Band, Cooking with Turf, Stand Easy with master piper John Alan, Golden Bough, and many more.  Visitors can see what the organisers call a Celtic living history area featuring over 400 costumed performers acting out 2000 years of Celtic History.  Eighty “Celtic” vendors, craftsman, and artisans will be showing their wares.   There will also be Scottish Highland Competition Games and Scottish Bagpipe Bands, Celtic Clans, Irish dogs and more whilst you are entertained by Irish Step Dancers and Scottish Highland Dancers. There will also be armoured foot combat, Welsh longbow archery, street performers, a giant, a fire breathing dragon, Vikings, jugglers, and a fire eater.

Elsewhere in the area for St. Patrick’s Day Black Oak Casino Resort’s Mill Sports Bar will be offering St. Patrick’ss Day drink specials which include green beer.  Also on the menu is Guinness Stout Stew and Irish “nachos” (they describe this as “loaded fries”).  At the Black Oak Café visitors can relax and enjoy a Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner with traditional Irish soda bread.   Black Oak Casino’s Willow Creek Lounge will offer Irish drink specials and exciting entertainment featuring dancing leprechauns!  Black Oak Casino Resort is located in the town of Tuolumne,

So how much sounds Celtic or traditional to you? Not that it really matters if good fun is had by all isn’t that what an festival should be about regardless of its attachment to history.

For more about  Tuolumne County, click here.

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