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Cortez Celtic Fair attracts thousands with live events and music

Proceeds from beer tent will go to a local charity
Fair goers participate in fencing at the Celtic Fair in Cortez on Saturday. (Shylee Graf/The Journal)

Parque de Vida buzzed with activity Saturday celebrating the Celtic Fair. People of all ages came out to enjoy live music, support vendors, and watch events like Highland Games, Highland Dance competition and a disc golf tournament.

All beer proceeds are donated to a local charity each year. The website says that they’ve donated more than $8,400 from past events. This year, the proceeds will be donated to the Montezuma County Health Department Food Pantry.

Randy McKnight, who puts on the Celtic Fair each year with his wife, Kathleen, told a Journal reporter that they estimated 5,000 or more people attended the fair. At one point during the day, the result of a head count was about 2,500 people.

Several food and snack vendors served lunch and cool beverages to attendees. Merchandise vendors sold handmade pieces, many of which had Celtic themes.

Josephine Lare, owner of Firedrake Arts, poses in front of her hand-crafted items at the Celtic Fair Saturday. (Shylee Graf/The Journal)
Firedrake Arts sells dreamcatchers, bracelets, and pouches, all handcrafted, at the Celtic Fair on Saturday. (Shylee Graf/The Journal)

Firedrake Arts, a vendor selling hand-crafted leather items such as purses, knife sheaths and belts, was set up with a good view of the festivities. Josephine Lare, leather craftsman and artist, said that smaller items like bracelets, pouches, and dream catchers sell the most. She said belts also sell “faster than I can make them.”

“It would take about four weeks of making stuff to have a full table,” Lare said. However, she sells her items at farmers markets in the area, so it was mostly a matter of deciding what to bring to the Celtic Fair.

Bella Creations also had a tent set up, where they were selling hand-poured candles, engraved tumblers and engraved cutting boards. The business is owned by Matt and Laura Sparling and is located in Dolores. They named their business after their cat Bella, “who was a princess and wanted only the best of everything,” according to their pamphlet.

Matt and Laura Sparling, owners of Bella’s Creations, pose in front of their banner at the Celtic Fair on Saturday. (Shylee Graf/The Journal)
Bella Creations displays their hand-poured soy wax candles at the Celtic Fair in Parque de Vida on Saturday. (Shylee Graf/The Journal)
Bella Creations engraves flasks, which were best-sellers at the Celtic Fair. (Shylee Graf/The Journal)

Laura Sparling said that it takes a few weeks to decide what to bring to this event, but they sell their products at farmers markets and other events when they can.

“The flasks do the best here,” Sparling said. It depends on the market when it comes to what items sell the most, she added.

The Sparlings created four original scented candles, and sell candles in several other scents. All candles are made of soy wax. Their original scents are “San Juan Mountains,” “Scottish Morning,” “Safari” and “Bella Colada.”

The fair also featured Armored Combat, a club affiliated with Armored Combat Worldwide. Participants “wear traditional knights armor and use medieval weapons,” according to the Celtic Fair’s website.

Highlands Games included shot put, caber toss, sheaf toss, and hammer throw, and contestants could be seen in various spots in the park competing.

A participant in the Highlands Games throws a heavy weight into the air at the Celtic Fair on Saturday. (Shylee Graf/The Journal)

Celtic and Gaelic bands performed on the Parque de Vida performance stage. Seven Nations was started in New York City in 1993, and members hail from California, Toronto, and Florida according to the Celtic Fair’s website. Ga Greine, meaning “sunbeam” in Gaelic, performed as well. Their music embraces traditional Celtic sounds and bluegrass. Other bands, including Kitchen Jam Band, Truckley Howe, the Bowmaneers, and Westwind Pipes and Drums performed throughout the day as well.

The event also hosted kids events, including Tug O’War. All kids who participated were promised a treat for their performance, the website says.

Bands performed live music at the Celtic Fair on Saturday. (Shylee Graf/The Journal)