Mondo Celtic Gathering in Grass Valley

A woodsy atmosphere and lilting tunes fill out the early fall tradition.

KVMR Celtic Festival

FAIRY GARDENS... have become a delightful feature in many backyards over the last decade or so, as more outdoor companies offer wee ceramic houses and bright stones alongside the expected plants and flowers. They aren't just for the young fairy fans, of course; creating worlds inspired by the tales of olde is a passion for many a lifelong lover of woodland-based wonder. But there's a real-life, fuller scale element to woodland-based wonder, and it alights in Grass Valley each autumn. It's the KVMR Celtic Festival, a three-day celebration that focuses on the sweet and timeless tunes of days long past.

AND TODAY, of course, for the playing of Celtic tunes isn't just about summoning the sounds from bygone eras. It's a vibrant calling, and lovely, and practitioners of the form, from The Elders to The Angry Brians to Ha'Penny Bridge will take to the stage to send fiddleful delight out to the attendees. Those attendees will also be visiting different areas of the gathering when not listening to music, from the Marketplace (where vendors purveying in flutes and hair ornaments and pottery and kilts may be found) to the Living History area (look for athletics, juggling, royal performers, and more). The emphasis of the area is more on this human plane, and not on the land o' the fairies, but the aforementioned woodland-based wonder will be on display, thanks to the tall-of-tree setting.

WILL YOU... find something for your own historic garden at home? Or simply delight in some dance-ready tunes that sound as though they were first played in a Dublin pub? It's a long-running, large-scale California Celtic celebration, and you don't even need to wave a wand to get there: Just make your way to Grass Valley from Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 (and read up on tickets, stay overs, and such before you go). It's the 20th anniversary, you should know, and "music and magic" are at the festivity's crown-topped heart.

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