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Fairplex hosts Irish festivities for all to enjoy

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Kat Simonelli
Staff Writer

The weather held out and set for a perfect weekend for celebrating Irish culture at the Irish Fair at the Pomona Fairplex Saturday and Sunday.

The day began with a parade through the fairgrounds set with a full drum and bagpipe line, dancing elephants and a leprechaun on stilts.

“We come together to take care of the community,” Doug Schneid, the pipe major of the 42nd Highlanders Regimental Pipe and Drum group said.

The 42nd Highlanders Regimental Pipes and Drums is a drum and bagpipe group that has been attending the Irish Fair at the Fairplex since it started 11 years ago and is composed of police, fire and military men, as well as regular community members.

Some booths allowed people to find your Irish genealogy, while other booths sold ancient traditional wear, musical instruments, wood carvings, kilts, hair accessories, Irish pride wear, and many other souvenirs.

There were about 60 performances for each day of the event.

Some of the performers included dancing groups such as the Bells of Bedlam, Scottish Dancers, Cloggers and Cleary Irish Dance.

There were also musical groups such as the Twilight Lords, the Mulligans, Those Manning Bhoys, the Galway Hooker Band and the California Celts.

The California Celts have more of a modern rock style rather than the usual traditional Celtic music played at the Irish Fair, but they do incorporate old fashioned penny whistles and bagpipes into their modern sounding music to stick to their roots.

They sang a song in tribute of Jeremiah McKay, the policeman killed on duty during former police officer Christopher Dorner’s killing spree in February.

“We make a living playing at Irish pubs in the dark, so this is literally a breath of fresh air for us and we absolutely love it,” Chris Poland, lead singer and guitarist of the California Celts said.

“We live for this kind of stuff,” Poland said.

Some of the traditional Irish food that made an appearance at the fair included fish and chips, bangers, Irish stew and corned beef sandwiches.

The grounds were split up into different sections including a tea garden, where you could sit and have tea and pastries and listen to Celtic bands perform in an air-conditioned portion of the fairgrounds and escape the heat or the wind.

There was also a portion of the grounds called the Gloccamora Green, Home of the Ancient Irish Village, where there were booths selling ancient themed clothing, jewelry, with archery lessons taught by people dressed to the time period.

The Archers of Ravenwood are an educational group that is set in 1450 at the end of the 100 years war and dress and act like Old English archers.

“Each patron who wishes to participate is allowed to shoot 10 arrows and are given a private lesson with an instructor,” Connie Terry of the Archers of Ravenwood said.

There were also elephant rides, pony rides, and a petting zoo that kept the children that visited the fair content.

Almost anything that was edible was dyed green.

There was green beer, green ice cream, green cotton candy, green lemonade and even fountains sprouting green water.

The Irish Fair and Celtic Music Festival will return to Irvine this summer.

Kat Simonelli can be reached at

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