Willow pays the audience a visit during Midsummer Jigs
Last weekend was the KVMR Celtic Festival in Grass Valley, CA. This was the first time we'd ever been to this festival, but it looked like a great time from all the musicians they've had in the past and we were certainly not disappointed!
The grounds were just beautiful - the festival is held on the county fairgrounds, but it is transformed into a lovely Celtic festival once a year with medieval costumes and tents full of kilts, tartan, shamrocks, thistles, jewelry, whiskey flasks and even swords!
I was told by somebody that there were swordfighting lessons somewhere on the grounds, bagpipe bands marching everywhere, as well as a regular procession of royalty through the grounds. We were in the middle of playing a semi-acoustic set at one point and needed to take a little break to acknowledge Mary, Queen of Scots as she marched by with her court. ;-)
Solana answering questions on the Pine Grove stage
One of our favorite shows of the weekend was on the Pine Tree Stage, which was more of an interactive set. We got to take questions from the audience right there onstage and it was a pleasant, shady, lovely morning show.
It was especially fun to know that we were playing on the same stage as one of our heros, Dougie MacLean, as he has also played at this festival in the past and performed a set on the same stage. :D What an exciting time!
Some of the great people we got to meet !!
On the first day there we were having breakfast at the hotel and happened to be sitting right across from another band that was playing at the festival - the Elders from Kansas City. We got to talking and then agreed to come up and dance with them during their set at some point during the day. So as soon as our early shows were finished (they were all such fun, by the way! What a wonderful festival. You can always tell how good a festival it is by the people in the audience that come every year and enjoy the festivities!) we got to jump up onstage with them and do a little reel. It was great fun and a perfect way to end the weekend! (See picture below)
They are wonderful, inspiring musicians all of them, and you should definitely check out their music!
So, we made it to Alaska! We arrived in Anchorage on a windy evening, and drove up to the little town of Palmer just as the clouds began to break to let the sun stream down. This breathtaking view was definitely one to be remembered, so we stopped at a viewing point for Greta to pose for a picture before we went to settle in at our B&B for the evening.
The next day, we had our first performances at the fair. We were lucky that the weather held out for us on the first couple days, so we were able to go and play out in the audience during our song "Midsummer Jigs." I love the ferris wheel in the back of this picture.
Our Bed and Breakfast was called "The Cookie Jar B&B." Every night when we returned from the fair, we found a plate of freshly baked cookies waiting for us on the table from our kind hostess, Valerie. She even left us a bowl of watermelon on two of the nights!
Here's a long shot of the Colony stage where we spent the week performing at the Alaska State Fair. I think the roof of the stage looks similar to a Dutch hat. This picture shows one of the beautiful sunny days that we got to enjoy near the beginning of the week.
As we neared the end of our performances, a problem arose. We were almost out of CD's! By the very last show, Solana and I were selling the last few Story Girl CD's from a backpack on the stage. People were very nice and patient as we rummaged around to find the remaining CD's and DVD's.
The Powerhouse dancers, Matt, Haley, Addison, and Brian, were all great performers. We collaborated with them and came up with some combo numbers to perform together near the end of the fair as a surprise for the audience. They do all kinds of percussive dance- clogging, tap, Stomp, and even a bit of Irish. Check them out at Powerhousedance.net.
Check out this gigantic pumpkin! It won first prize in the 'largest pumpkin' category, and for good reason. It is ginormous!
"Drink up me hearties, yo ho!" As we walked through the fair to find something to eat to warm us up one afternoon, we came upon some Pirates who were wandering the grounds and cheering people up with their witty comments and excellent costumes. The pirate on the left was actually in the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean movies! Captain Jack Sparrow was so believable that I was sure I'd just met Johnny Depp.
After the fair finished, we had two days to explore and sightsee before returning to Seattle. I begged to drive up through the town of "Willow," and look what I found there... a jail named after me! There was a gas station, this historic jail, and some houses far off the highway on dirt roads in Willow, and that was about it.
It was fun being tourists in Anchorage for a day with our Alaskan Irish dancing friends Owen Barrington, and Emily Bliss. Emily found these amazing animal hats for us all to try on in a gift shop and we posed for this picture.
We tried to glimpse as much wildlife as we could during our stay. Although we caught sight of a bald eagle, several ducks, a mountain goat, and a few reindeer in a paddock, we never did come across a real moose. Ah well. Perhaps next time!
Near the end of our Anchorage tour, we strolled along a path through some woods to find the reindeer, and came across something quite different. Solana and Owen were swiped up into the arms of a big ol' mountain bear! They were terrified, as you can see!
We hope to come back and visit Alaska soon, to visit both old friends and new.
The inspiring landscape, the friendly people, the dramatic weather, and places we got to visit all contributed to making our first trip to the "Last Frontier" a memorable one, and a thoroughly enjoyable experience both onstage and off.
Hey all - we arrived in Alaska a few days ago to perform at the state fair. It is just beautiful up here and we're excited to be performing every day here for the next week or so.
I haven't gotten any show photos yet, but I'll continue to update as the week goes on. If you live in Alaska or know anyone that lives in or around Anchorage and Palmer, come on out to the fair or send them to our shows!
Meanwhile, for those of you who are not with us in Alaska, here are some photos of how beautiful it is!
And here is Solana with her friend the moose on the Alaska State Fairgrounds:
See you at a show in the future! :-)
We just got back from a trip out to Eastern Montana where we performed at the Prairie County Fair in Terry. It was a great show and we had lots of fun meeting everyone there before and after the show. Here are some pics.
Next up we'll be doing 4-5 shows in the Seattle area, then heading up to the Lynden fair for six days.
You can see more pics right here.
Last weekend we performed at the Puyallup Spring fair for the second year in a row, and it was really fun! Last year at the fair was really cold so there weren't really very many people there, but this year it was warm and glorious so lots of people came out and we had some great shows.
Because we also got to hang out at the fair for a long time after it closed, we had some extra time to make a video blog for you guys to enjoy. Here it is - hope you like it!
You can also see LOTS of photos from the Spring fair right here.
I finally finished the video looking back on all the fun times we had this year. Hope you enjoy!
We just got back from Las Vegas, where we go every year to the big fair convention and trade show that is held there. We stand at a trade show booth and hand out DVDs and flyers and CDs to fair buyers who are walking by and trying to decide who they should book for their stages at their fairs. This year was great, and I think we'll have some exciting places to travel this year!
One of the best parts about this convention is that we get to chat with our friends that we make performing in the fair circuit during the year. We all are booked separately, but everyone gets to know each other from doing the same fairs every once in a while. So when the buyers have finished making the rounds of the trade show, the performers all chat and have fun together. You'll see all kinds of things at this trade show - stilt walkers, musicians, robots, giant trees, hypnotists, magicians, country singers, rock stars, Irish dancers (hehehe!) pig races, bluegrass groups, comedy shows, animal exhibits, wild west shows, rodeos and lots more! If it works at a fair, it is there! So we had a great time. Now it is time to head right into the Christmas season, but it looks like next Summer will end up being pretty full.
See you later!
Here is a new video that I just put together with clips from all of our shows, like a 7-minute long show sampling. So if you weren't able to make it to one of our shows this Summer, here is a "mini show" for you. :-)