Debbie Croft: Special events abound in the foothills

March 8, 2013 


It's the oldest and largest Celtic Faire in the West. And it's going on this weekend, Friday through Sunday, at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora, 220 Southgate Drive.

At the faire you'll see knights in full armor; jousting on horseback; Scottish Highland games and competition; sword fighting, armored foot combat and archery; a medieval martial arts tournament; Viking and Roman living history areas; Irish and Scottish clan tents; the royal court of Mary Queen of Scots; a Celtic marketplace with more than 80 craftsmen and artisans; plus food and beverage vendors.

There will be eight stages of continuous entertainment in the Celtic tradition, from Scottish bagpipe bands to live music by groups such as the Black Irish Band, Golden Bough, Tempest and Avalon Rising. And there will be dragons, jugglers, fire-eaters and magicians.

Go to www.sonoracelticfaire. com for details and tickets.

Shakespeare in Mariposa

A funny thing happened in Applegate Park last year as Heike Hambley (pronounced "Hi-ka") from the Merced Shakespearefest talked to Cate Cannon and Stephanie Evans from Mariposa Playhouse. An idea was conceived: Would it be possible to bring Merced Shakespearefest to the foothills?

Hambley and the board of directors visited the facility in Mariposa and a collaboration was agreed upon.

"We decided to give it a try," Hambley said. "We believe in bringing Shakespeare wherever we can, and because Mariposa Playhouse wants to offer numerous theater events to the community."

All the Shakespeare productions are mobile. The set is minimal, and the plays are abridged, each lasting about an hour and a half.

Mercedians are familiar with the nonprofit theater group, and now Mariposans can become acquainted with it as well.

At the Mariposa County Park amphitheater, The Merced Shakespearefest will perform "Hamlet" at 7:30 p.m. today. Tickets are available at the Mariposa Shipping Co. or at the amphitheater entrance. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for students. The amphitheater is at 4998 County Park Road.

A historic breakfast

In Coulterville from 8 to 11 a.m. Sunday, the Northern Mariposa County History Center is serving a home-cooked breakfast in the old schoolhouse at Broadway and Cemetery streets. Adults eat for $5, kids for $3, and $15 for a family of four. Enjoy pancakes, eggs any way you like them, ham or sausage, and fresh fruit. Your breakfast is free if you become a member of the History Center.

The center was established more than 35 years ago, with continuous exhibits providing a glimpse into California pioneer life. For more information, call (209) 878-3015 or email info@coultervillemuseum. com.

Cellist to perform

And for classical music lovers, the St. James Anglican Church in Sonora, a k a Red Church, will host cellist Susan Lamb Cook on Sunday at 3 p.m.

The St. James Concert Series brings local and international artists to the area for outstanding performances. Past concerts featured renowned artists, including pianists Frank Wiens and Audrey Andrist, and violinist Warren van Brockhorst. The SJCS also sponsors the Sierra Music Scholarship Fund, which assists local classical music students in furthering their educations.

The church sits at Washington and Elkin streets. For more information, call (209) 984-0704.

Debbie Croft writes about life in the foothill communities. She can be reached at

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